Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, etc…
Quentin Tarantino brings his 8th feature film to the screen.
I’ve explained before, probably not here, but in another job, that when it comes to Tarantino I’m a little on again off again with the love affair I’ve had with the man. I’m always entertained by the writer/director and his movie, and can never doubt his talent, but sometimes he’s trying to be cool for the sake of being cool. When it came to Django Unchained it was total love. I think with Django it was the setting of the wild west that brought the film up for me. Growing up in our house my Father was always running the batteries down on the remote constantly searching for a Western to watch. This was also back in the time when we only had one TV in the house. So I watched a lot of John Wayne et al adventures.
Once again Tarantino triumphs with the setting and script for this Parlour Piece, set in the West, and with an all-star cast. The only downside, and I’ll get it out-of-the-way now is that it’s too long. Not that I have a problem with long films, the longer the better, but when you can see obvious cuts that would take the films running time down about an hour then you get a little bit annoyed. This small problem though is overshadowed by the greatness of technique that the writer and director shows in the movie. Hard nosed Bounty Hunter John Ruth, Kurt Russell, is taking Daisy, Jennifer Jason Leigh, in for hanging when a blizzard forces his stagecoach to stop at a local watering hole. Along the way he picks up fellow Bounty Hunter Marquis Warren, Samuel L Jackson, and Former Rebel soldier Chris Mannix. Mannix is played by stand out performer Walton Goggins, who just about steals every scene that he has a line in. This stagecoach ride seems to last about an hour, and the dialogue, which is classic Tarantino, sparkles with a savage mastery of the language of the time. When they reach their destination the ensemble cast are joined by Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern.
The trademark excellence of Tarantino is there with clever uses of the cinematic form. The one thing about Tarantino that even his doubters cannot deny is that the man knows how to fill a movie theatre with sounds and visuals that bring you back to the golden age of cinema. When it comes to the costuming and the set dressings it is damn near faultless too. If you don’t like long movies then keep away, and probably if you do like long movies, like I do, there may be a reason to keep away. The violence with is stamped across all the movies that Tarantino has made in the past is here still, and it’s excessive in parts, but if you are going to one of this writer/directors movies and expecting the next Chipmunks movie then you’re in for a bit of a shock either way. This is everything that you expect from this movie master.
Performances are what you think you’re going to get as well. Walton Goggins, as explained earlier, is the show stealer here, and if you’ve seen him in anything in the past you know what you are going to get, but it’s still worth waiting for. Kurt Russell has truly beaten the moustache stakes that he started in Tombstone with what I hope one day will grace my face. The Chapter system that Quentin has used in the past is used again and proves to be a clever plot system taking us through a story already in full flow and telling us that it’s all going to be fine, we’re going to be clued in on what is in store. The classic score is matched with more modern songs that benefit rather than take away from the movie, once again Tarantino shows a complete understanding of how to score a movie to lift it up.
Will Hateful 8 light up the box office? Well maybe, Tarantino has a massive following and there is starting to be that lag from the Star Wars crowd who want to devour something new. This will test the attention span of the casual cinema goer, which is a good thing to do, we need to learn that 3 hours of cinema, when properly used, is an amazing way to spend an evening. When you can cut about an hour of the film out without losing the greatness then you question the choice. For me this is a stage play on-screen, not a bad thing, but I’d happily pay to watch it again the way that it should be watched, on a big screen with an epic sound system. But I’d also be happy to pay for this as a stage play should that adaptation ever happen. Worth every penny of your cinema cash.