The Hateful Eight movie full length review - The entertaining eight-th
There has been some discussion as to who the hateful eight really are. There is more or less a general consensus narrowing it down to nine, with either the carriage driver O.
B. (James Parks) or the watering hole Mexican hand Bob (Demian Bichir) dropped from the "hateful" list. But then, there is also a mysterious character Jody (Channing Tatum) who appears only at the two-third point of the movie. Does it mean therefore that both O.B. and Bob are out? But enough of this inconsequential obsession with numbers.
Much more important, as highlighted in the opening credit, is that Tarantino has to-date made eight feature films, "THE" being the eighth. The message, while not shouted out aloud, is quite clear: "I, Tarantino, do not load my work with mediocre stuff". This immediately brings to mind the auteur in the opposite end of the spectrum, one-movie-a-year Woody Allen. Personally, I find nothing wrong with either.
Like many other Tarantino work, THE is divided into chapters, six, to be specific. The first three are establishing narrations, with the first death occurring at the end of Chapter Three. All hell breaks loose in Chapter Four which is generally peppered with the trademark Tarantino surprises and gore, in equal measures. Chapter Five is a flashback to half a day before, explaining the twists. Chapter Six is a neatly drawn conclusion, with perfect closure. At the end of the day, you realize that the plot is actually quite simple, a rescue story. Totally in form and in control, Tarantino takes the audience through a maze of character-driven possibilities, with tension continuously mounting and red herrings aplenty.
Skipping any specific reference to Tarantino's spellbinding (to audience with acquired tastes for his work), inimitable style the story set shortly after the Civil War (the real one, not Captain America's) unfolds with two bounty hunters in a stage coach to a desolate border town Red Rock to deliver goods with price tags of $8,000 and $10,000 respectively following each one's own preference within the "dead or alive" options. In the former, ex-Union Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) has loaded on top of the carriage two dead bodies adding up to the aforementioned sum. John Ruth (Kurt Russell), on the other hand, has steadfastly handcuffed to himself one Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leith), worth $10,000 when delivered to the hangman. While her dead body will fetch the same bounty, Ruth is a man of principles, one of which is try not to deprive professional hangmen their livelihood. A hitchhiker picked up, making the fourth in the carriage, is Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) who is going to Red Rock to take up his appointment as sheriff. The fifth in this group is the aforementioned driver O.B. who in all likelihood is not one of the titular characters. But who knows? In the midst of typical Tarantino verbiage and slapstick violence (with Domergue as the punching bag, quite literally), this group struggles to outrun a menacing blizzard that will likely have them stranded for a couple of days in a usually frequented watering hole Minnie's Haberdashery operated by Minnie and her husband Sweet Dave.
When they arrive, the owner couple is nowhere to be seen. The first of the four people greeting them is aforementioned Mexican Bob who informs them that the owner couple is away, with him filling in for the time being. Inside, the remainder of the quartet is revealed as Oswald Mobray the hangman (Tim Roth), retired general Confederate general Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern) and moody Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) who explains that he is on his way to spend time with his beloved mother, having made a small fortune.
What we have here is something like Agatha Christie's "Ten little n-word" (a politically incorrect title that has longed been replaced by "And then there were none", although the n-word is actually used quite freely in the Tarantino movie) where a group of people is stranded in a confined location with mounting tension towards the first death, then more deaths. The tension here comes from several sources. First of all, Ruth the dominating character, in his dubious temporary alliance with Warren, is suspicious of everybody around him (including Warren). Then, as the blizzard grows more formidable every minute, various chores will still need to be done outside and someone has to do them. The acutest tension, understandably, is between Major Warren and General Smithers, from opposite sides of the recent Civil War, as mentioned above. Such raw material in the hands of Tarantino makes for top notch entertainment to those enlightened to the auteur's movie universe. I am tempted to say a lot more but if you have read carefully, you would realize that I have already said too much.