The 8th film by Quentin Tarantino, as the filmmaker pompously boasts, is a much more contained story than much of his recent filmography, being a film which takes place primarily in one location. The Hateful Eight is set a few years after the Civil War, where bounty hunter John Ruth is escorting his fugitive Daisy Domerque to hang in Red Rock. Along the way, Ruth encounters two strangers: Major Marquies Warren, a black former Union soldier turned bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix, a southern apologists who claims to be Red Rock's new sheriff. With a blizzard approaching, the four of them take refuge at Minnie's Haberdashery, a small cabin that will provide shelter from the harsh weather. Arriving at Minnie's, they are greeted by a host of unfamiliar faces, making it unclear who can and can't be trusted. Being a much more contained story than many of Tarantino's recent efforts, The Hateful Eight is a screenplay driven story, relying heavily on great performances and a playful screenplay that provides a lot of mystery and intrigue. The film feels like a stage play at times, with characters interacting with one and other in the same space while others sit quietly in the background. It takes a little getting used to at first, especially when considering how verbose many of these characters are when they do speak, but thanks to a lot of colorful characters the film is constantly engaging, regardless of its nearly 3 hour running time. Many have called The Hateful Eight, Tarantino's The Thing, and those comparisons are apt, as the film relies on its slowly building tension between characters to keep the audience engaged. The film continuously subverts the audiences expectations, suggesting alliances between various characters while simultaneously forcing the audience to question what they thought they knew, in terms of which characters are in cahoots with one and other. The performances all around are stellar, with Jennifer Jason Leigh in particular delivering a great performance. Even in scenes where she isn't directly involved, I found myself unable to take my eyes off of her, as Leigh delivers a full-bodied, devilish performance. Tarantino's film is full of human garbage behaving badly and while I'd be lying if I didn't say Hateful Eight provides devilish entertainment, I'd be re-missed to not mention the fact that Tarantino continues to remain stagnant as a filmmaker. Tarantino's juvenile obsession with violence and masturbatory dialogue continue to be his most defining attribute and his biggest detriment, as the filmmaker hasn't evolved at all over the years, if anything he has regressed. The film's commentary on race relations, and by that I basically mean the plight of the Black man living in America, lacks all subtlety and besides the obvious, really doesn't have much to say that we haven't heard a million times before. Violent, juvenile, albeit fun, Tarantino's latest opus, The Hateful Eight, is another blood-splattered excursion by the filmmaker that while enjoyable has really nothing all that interesting to say.
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