Quentin Tarantino movies should just already get slapped onto best movies of the year lists or slotted into movie award nominations before he’s even finished making them. This is literally the only director in the world talented enough to make me go see westerns and war movies: two genres I loathe with a venomous passion, but Tarantino’s westerns and war movies? I’ll see those in a heartbeat. Let’s take a look at “The Hateful 8.”
Set some time after the Civil war ended, a pair of legendary bounty hunters (Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson), their female bounty (Jennifer Jason Leigh), and a sketchy sheriff (Walton Goggins) is forced by a blizzard to shack up in a familiar tavern and ride the storm out together. Unfortunately, a pair of strange new faces inhabits the tavern when they arrive and as the storm intensifies and tempers flare, it’s doubtful everyone will make it out of this tavern alive by storm’s end. This is the first Tarantino movie I’ve seen that didn’t feel like it was close to 3 hours at all, THAT is a sign of how good a movie is; the length isn’t even noticed because you’re too damn engrossed and invested in the story.
The gathering of these 8 characters presents a multitude of interesting personalities, stories and tension that carries all the way to the end credits without a hitch. It kind of feels like a “Who dunnit” murder-mystery-western-stand-off, full of twists and turns that keep you guessing and gasping at the punishing amount of gore that’s being dished out. There’s so much life and depth to these shady characters, so much mystery that even when you think a character has figured everything out, you’re shot in the back by the latest sneak attack plot twist and falling deeper and deeper into this film’s expanding western web of lies.
Everyone is top shelf, grade A, high quality cream of the crop; Tarantino gets the best out of everyone and everything he touches and this is no exception. What I loved best about this film was the draw these people have; the inescapable attraction created by their mystery and performances. Not one minute of its 2 hour and 47 minute running time felt sluggish or longwinded, every snowflake and blood splatter felt necessary and kept me crippled with captivation. “Hateful 8” is a blood soaked, western who-dunnit kind of dark magic that doesn’t disappoint Tarantino’s immaculate record in even the slightest. Even if all westerns were as excellent as this one, “Hateful 8” would still stand out as the best amongst the rest of the west.
I give “Hateful 8” 4 stars out of 4 stars.