The Hateful Eight (2015)

The Hateful Eight (2015). directed by Quentin Tarantino, written by Quentin Tarantino, starring Kurt Russel, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern

Two bounty hunters, one escorting a prisoner worth 10 000 dollars, get snowed in on a wagon stop. John Ruth (Russel), the one escorting Daisy Domergue (Jason Leigh), is suspecting some of the people at the stop aren't who they say they are, thinking that one of them might be there to spring Domergue loose. He's borderline paranoid, not even fully trusting Major Warren (Jackson), a fellow bounty hunter ferrying back three cadavers worth 8000 dollars, and even less Mannix (Goggins), who says that he's the new Sherif of Red Rock they all are heading. The foursome was travelling together because of circumstances, but after arriving at Minnies Habidashery, the suspicions really start to spark.

People at the Habidashery are as follow: Bob the ranch hand (Birch), Mobray the hangman (Roth), a cowboy Joe Gage (Madsen) and old southern General Smithers (Dern). Ruth is suspicious about everyone and only one he barely trusts is Domerque. So, a snowed-in cabin in the middle of the mountains, filled with not so nice people. This is the setting for Quentin Tarantino's eight movie, the Hateful Eight, nearly 3 hours long wester, that almost completely takes place in a small, snowbound one-room house and a stagecoach.

What the Hateful Eight reminded me a bit of is Tarantino's own  Reservoir Dogs. Not in the sense that it's a similar story, as this isn't a tale of an aftermath of a botched robbery. In Reservoir Dogs the criminals know there is a stooge mids them, in the Hateful Eight Ruth knows there's a criminal accomplice within the room. Ruth is not hiding his own mistrust but in the end, it's obvious his mistrust is well placed, as the whole setup with the people waiting at the Habidashery feels like a setup from the getgo. In here the big question is, who of the people is the one in the pocket of Domergue.

Just like every Tarantino movie, there's twists and turns and violence involved. It is, stylistically, very much like those pulp movies he so much likes but directed with his usual finesse.  The story itself isn't actually very complicated and the people are pretty obvious. Some violence is there just for the shock value just as is the over the top dialogue the Tarantino veterans spout with an ease you'd expect from actors like Jackson, Madsen and Roth.

The acting is overall solid. The cast is mostly Tarantino regulars, so they know how to make the dialogue he writes work. At times, like Tarantino's stuff often has, there's a kind of an over the top, almost parodic touch in the script, that is quickly changed into something else. This reflects nicely on the acting as well, especially when there's intentional hamming up going on. Somehow Tarantino makes it all work though.

The thing about the Hateful Eight is, that while it is a solid movie in its own right, it also feels like a very safe bet from Tarantino himself. He doesn't really do anything new with it, he just does what he's best at, in showing a tale of violence and terrible people doing what they're best at.

Interestingly enough the Hateful Eight is and is not the kind of a movie you'd expect it to be. It's the kind of a movie you'd expect a story about the people seen in it be, but at the same time the way Tarantino has spun the tale, makes it really stand out.

You could call the Hateful Eight a moral story on how bad people get what's coming to them, but then you'd have to forget that, that there were, at least relatively, good people in the story as well and even they get burned.