OSCAR SEASON – The Hateful Eight (2016, Quentin Tarantino)

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This movie needs no introduction. It is the 8th film to be independently written and directed by Quinton Tarantino, and one which has been dodged with piracy leaks and disagreements with cinema chains. All of this is unlikely however to stop it from being just as big a success as his previous films. Before you choose to watch, here is a general rundown of what you can expect from the eagerly awaited ‘Hateful Eight’.

The tale is set in Wyoming post-Civil War years, against the backdrop of a snowy wasteland. A stiff neck Bounty hunter, John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell) is traveling by horse and cart to his final destination, Red Rock. On board, he houses a firecracker female prisoner (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) who he plans to trade for a bounty on arrival. Whilst the bounty stands whether she is delivered dead or alive, rather sadistically, Ruth enjoys the satisfaction of watching his victims hang, and thus plans to haul Daisy in with her pulse intact.

It’s not long before their party multiplies in numbers, as they are soon joined by a fellow bounty hunter with his own bounty (Samuel L Jackson) and Redrock’s self-righteous new sheriff (Walter Goggins).

When the weather takes a turn for the worst, the group stop in at a passing tavern, where they become acquainted with another rag-tag bunch of characters; a sadist hangman, a shifty Mexican named Senior bob, a mysterious lone ranger, and an aging General.

Combined in numbers, we finally have our hateful eight.

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As a blizzard sets in, our motley crew come to realise that they will be stuck in each others company for the next few days. It’s not long before cynical Ruth begins to question each of their integrity, and quickly comes to the conclusion that they have a rat in their midst.

It wouldn’t be a Tarantino film without a nod to Blaxploitation. Whilst he chooses not to delve into it so deeply as he has done in some of his past films like Jackie Brown and Django, racial slurs and prejudice views do make an appearance.

There are plenty of light-hearted moments as well, including a comical routine of hammering the door shut and a Carrie-esque moment with the coffee!!

I won’t give away any spoilers, but I will pass comment on my own feelings towards the film. Honestly, I expected more. After Tarantino previous two releases (Inglorious Bastards and Django Unchained) I sat myself down ready to watch something spectacular. Sadly, what I got was a rather basic story with no real end in sight. It didn’t have the same dry wit and meatiness as Inglorious, or deliver a fierce revenge-fueled spaghetti western like Django.

Could it be the Tarantino has peaked in the midst of his hype? Or as one other blog post I read suggested, perhaps the controversial director just decided to drop his usual freedom fighting antics this time and make a movie with a straightforward, no-frills story? I’ll let you be the judge.

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