The Hateful Eight

"One of them fellas is not what he says he is."   - John Ruth

release year: 2015
genre: drama/western
viewing setting: home Bluray 3/30/16

synopsis: A bunch of thoroughly dislikeable characters end up stranded in a cabin during a blizzard...but all is not what it seems.

impressions: It's the Quentin Tarantino western mystery movie. What you have here is a bunch of people - not a single one of whom is inherently likeable - who each has his or her own agenda, and each of whom dislikes at least one of the others. I'm going to quote Tarantino here as he discusses his idea for this film, in the context of 1960s Western TV shows: "Twice per season, those shows would have an episode where a bunch of outlaws would take the lead characters hostage. They would come to the Ponderosa and hold everybody hostage, or go to Judge Garth's place — Lee J. Cobb played him — in The Virginian and take hostages. There would be a guest star like David Carradine, Darren McGavin, Claude Akins, Robert Culp, Charles Bronson, or James Coburn. I don't like that storyline in a modern context, but I love it in a Western, where you would pass halfway through the show to find out if they were good or bad guys, and they all had a past that was revealed. I thought, 'What if I did a movie starring nothing but those characters? No heroes, no Michael Landons. Just a bunch of nefarious guys in a room, all telling backstories that may or may not be true. Trap those guys together in a room with a blizzard outside, give them guns, and see what happens." The ultimate plot, when eventually revealed, is actually really simple. The movie is, of course, filled with profanity and other things that will offend some people, but if you're watching this movie, you surely knew what to expect anyway. It was entertaining and kept me occupied and thinking, although I won't need to watch it again too often due to now knowing what the plot twists are.

acting: This is a diverse group, some of whom have big roles, others of whom have little to say. In my opinion, Walton Goggins has the most acting to do, as a former Confederate soldier who talks smoothly and often. Kurt Russell is the big, bad bounty hunter who takes no crap from anyone. Samuel Jackson is another bounty hunter who has issues of his own. Jennifer Jason Leigh is a prisoner who spits and curses a lot. Demian Bichir is a Mexican who may not be as dumb as he seems. Tim Roth is a well-mannered Englishman. Michael Madsen is a simple, quiet cattleman. Bruce Dern is an old Confederate general who, I don't think, ever gets out of his chair. There are minor roles for James Parks, Channing Tatum, and Zoe Bell.

final word: Pretty good - and consistently entertaining - Tarantino drama.

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