Jennifer Jason Leigh in The Hateful Eight (Allstar/The Weinstein Company)

The Hateful Eight is hell on Earth and I loved it

jennisheppardBlog, Movies Leave a Comment

Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight is a hellish ball of bloody fury and I loved it.

It’s a simple plot – eight people are stranded in a cabin during a blizzard in the dead of winter in Wyoming. It’s some time after the American Civil War.

The characters claim to be a bounty hunter known as The Hangman (Kurt Russell), his female prisoner (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a travelling hangman, a cow puncher, a sheriff, a Mexican innkeeper, a white Confederate veteran and a black Yankee veteran turned bounty hunter (Samuel L Jackson.)

Into that explosive mix, throw rambling conversational humour and bloody, bloody violence, as all the parties try variously to keep the peace, kill everyone else or figure out what the hell is going on – and you have yourself a movie. A classic Tarantino movie.

Eccentric, bloodthirsty characters discuss the banalities of their jobs. Pleasant musical interludes become torturous knife edges. And when all hell breaks loose, it’s a cinematic bloodbath.

Of course, Samuel L Jackson is on top bombastic and bullshitting form. And Kurt Russell is a grizzly bear to behold, as he tries and fails to steer events.

But Jennifer Jason Leigh? This murderous bitch looms just as large as the men in the room – if not larger. She deserves an award and I hope she gets it.

By the end of The Hateful Eight, there’s no doubt, these are all hateful people.

But somehow, Tarantino made me care about each one. And I’d be happy to have the whole, bloody, brilliant experience again.

Is it worth seeing The Hateful Eight in 70 mm?

Totally. It was my first experience watching 70 mm and I found it far more immersive than I expected, given the number of rows of heads in front of me.

I was about two thirds of the way back in the theatre, but long shots of the snowy Wyoming wilderness still seemed to wrap around me.

Meanwhile, inside the cabin, Tarantino makes beautiful use of the wider format, with unusual focal points and multiple character shots.

If you can, make sure there’s going to be an intermission at your screening too. It made a perfect break between the talking…and the killing.

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