The Hateful Eight is Quentin Tarantino’s eighth movie and his fourth best. Pulp Fiction takes top honors, followed by Django Unchained and Reservoir Dogs. Inglorious Basterds and The Hateful Eight are tied for fourth.
Fourth best for some movie-makers is not good. That’s not so for Tarantino. Even when he makes a bad movie, it’s pretty good.
The Hateful Eight starts with Kurt Russell’s bounty hunter John Ruth on a stage and taking Jennifer Jason Leigh’s dastardly Daisy Domergue to the Old West’s Red Rock, Wyo., to hang. He’s trying to outrun a blizzard. The stage is stopped by Samuel L. Jackson’s Civil War hero Major Marquis Warren. He’s also a bounty hunter and has bodies to take to Red Rock. But he’s horseless and needs a ride.
A bit later, Walton Coggins’ Chris Mannix — a Civil War gang member and racist, and who claims to be the new sheriff of Red Rock — begs to climb on board.
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They head for Minnie’s Haberdashery and shelter. But Minnie isn’t there. Instead, they find Bruce Dern’s rebel Gen. Sandy Smithers, Tim Roth’s Oswaldo Mobray — who says he’s Red Rock’s new hangman — and Michael Madsen’s cowboy Joe Gage. Also, there is Bob, a Mexican who says he is watching the place for Minnie.
Whether they belong there or not, and why they may or may not, sets up the film’s conflict. Typical of a Tarantino venture, this one is extraordinarily violent and bloody. Salty language — some of which I suspect wasn’t even in existence in post-Civil War America — permeates Tarantino’s Golden Globe-nominated screenplay. Blood, gore and language aside, Tarantino’s cast — from Russell, with his incredible handlebar mustache to Leigh’s Golden Globe-nominated semi-slutty punching bag — is terrific.
Tarantino filmed a 70-mm version that is 187 minutes long. It features Golden Globe-nominated Ennio Morricone’s small overture and then packs in a 12-minute intermission. That’s the version I saw. You won’t, because, unfortunately, there aren’t 70mm projectors in the Tri-Cities.
But don’t be disappointed. In fact, count your blessings. Yes, The Hateful Eight is a good movie, and Tarantino’s characters and character development is always a treat. But lots of slow spots dot its snowy landscape, and even at 167 minutes — instead of 187 — it’s going to seem pretty long.
‘The Hateful Eight’
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Coggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks, Demian Bichir
Mr. Movie rating: 4 stars
Rated R for mature themes, extreme violence and language, including the “N” word and nudity. It’s playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12, the Queensgate 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.