What I've always, always, always admired about Quentin Tarantino is his complete and total commitment to being a patient storyteller. He is, in my mind, one artist, part of an elite group of filmmakers who actually cares about taking his time to tell a story and flesh out characters. And at the same time, making his motion pictures just out right entertaining to watch! In fact, the way I can describe him is that he is really a writer who just so happens make movies. And as much as I would LOVE for him to continue what he's doing for many, many more years to come, I can understand to a point as to why he has made the decision to only make 2 more movies (which would bring his total number of films he has made up to 10) and then retire to go on doing other things. He has made the statement that "directing is a young man's game" and he loves the idea of leaving people wanting more. He has admitted that nothing is iron clad, but it is definitely a plan that had been hatched and growing in his mind for some years now - It was around the release of "Inglourious Basterds" when I first heard about this retirement plan.
Back in the day, after already permanently settling in my chair of Tarantino Fandom, having seeing Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, I began to wonder why the time-lag between his movies were as long as they were. It didn't any time at all soon after to figure out there was a direct correlation between that time-lag between movies and the quality of his films. Anyway, now that I've done enough gushing over one my favorite filmmakers, allow me to gush over his new contemporary western classic, "The Hateful Eight" - Let's rap!
Where do I begin to rave about when it comes to "The Hateful Eight"? Let's talk how amazing, not to mention how eclectic the cast is! If there's any ability Quentin has, and he has many, he knows how to bring together a righteous ensemble cast! Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Park, Dana Gourrier, Zoe Bell, and Channing Tatum! Quite a list, right? Many on that list are no stranger to working with Quentin, as he loves to work with people he has nurtured a blissful relationship with over the years. Now, I could go into their characters' names and what they do, but then I would have to go into plot details. And this is not a film I want to spoil for anyone! But, just to give you a quick insight into what it's about, I'll let you have a taste: It's about a Bounty Hunter who makes his way through a snowy blizzard Wyoming with a prisoner who is set to hang - Only they must take refuge from harsh conditions and share a cabin rest stop with a group of assorted suspicious characters! There are a ton of twists and revelations about the plot and characters, however, one of the other abilities that I love about Quentin's storytelling is that whatever he does reveal about the plot or characters, he ALWAYS does so through conversation between characters! Which makes it all the more exciting and entertaining to watch. Which leads me to the next thing I want to rave about...
As I'm sure everyone knows by now, Quentin Tarantino's films contain A LOT more dialogue than scenes of action. But to me, that's part of the brilliance of the way he tells his stories. All of that dialogue is a way to lead up to the action, and when the action happens, it pays off epically. It's like running for a while before you get to that cool drink of water. The action does quench the thirst for something bombastic to happen. I've learned to liken a Quentin Tarantino movie with a collection of dynamite - While the dialogue is like that wick that lights up and crackles, the action is that violent culminating result when the explosion happens! And Tarantino has mastered that skillfully throughout his 20+ year career as a writer/filmmaker! No one could possibly match that level of skill!
I feel compelled now to touch base on the fact that Quentin Tarantino has made an honest to God authentic Western, that which contains an actual original score from the one and only film music composer, Ennio Morricone! Now, for all you kids who are not familiar with the works of Ennio Morricone, all you have to do is go back to those old classic Sergio Leone Westerns starring Clint Eastwood, "A Fistful of Dollars", "For A Few Dollars More", and "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" and you will find his incredibly beautiful score attached to those films! Other notable credits to his name: "Cinema Paradiso", "The Thing", "The Untouchables", "Bugsy", "In The Line Of Fire", and "Disclosure" just to name a few! But the score to "The Hateful Eight" is nothing short of masterful! It's a score one could listen to, even without watching the film!
It's true, this motion picture was shot, as it says, in "Glorious 70mm" Film. And though I had missed my shot, and I'm sure it would have indeed been a real treat to see it in that format, seeing it digitally did Not diminish the quality of this film or how remarkable it was! This is everything one could ask for in not only a Quentin Tarantino film, but in a Western film as well! It was photographed magnificently by Robert Richardson, so much so that any time you saw the landscape, you could actually feel how cold it must've been! Performances by all were something to just sit back and take great delight in watching! Its dialogue, not just spoken, but the sheer verbiage included was like listening to the most beautiful music, that is, when Ennio Morricone's majestic score wasn't playing! Tarantino has done it once again, he has reached another feat in filmmaking excellence! Even if you're not a fan of Western films, you will become a fan of THIS one, I promise you!
The Hateful Eight Movie Review
by Phillip Wilcox "Our Movie Demon"