In post-Civil War Wyoming, a bounty hunter named John Ruth (Kurt Russell) is transporting a prisoner named Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to Red Rock Wyoming to be hanged. Ruth is joined by another bounty hunter and black Union soldier named Major Marquis Warren. (Samuel L. Jackson) The stagecoach travels a bit when they encounter a third man, Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) who is soon to be sheriff of Red Rock. The four passengers soon realize that they cannot make it all the way to Red Rock, because a blizzard is coming, so they stop at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a small trading post near Red Rock. At Minnie’s, Ruth, Warren, Domergue, and Mannix meet Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth) the hangman of Red Rock, Confederate General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern) and cowboy Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) but Minnie (Dana Gourrier) is nowhere to be seen which raises Major Warren’s suspicions. Ruth has suspicions of his own, he suspects that somebody is going to team up with Major Warren, shoot him and split the bounty with Warren. Where is Minnie? Are Major Warren’s suspicious unfounded? Are John Ruth’s suspicions unfounded?
For the first hour and a half, I thought this movie was destined to be another Tarantino classic, but then the movie was marred by projectile vomiting, Major Warren’s frat-boy style revenge vignette, nonsensical alliances, and out-of -the-blue narration from none other than Tarantino himself, I thought I had turned on the director’s commentary by mistake. All that, and the film was about an hour too long, Tarantino overindulged in his own dialogue, and no producer had the guts to tell him it was too long. About 2 hours into the film, Tarantino feels the need to add some exposition, as to how certain characters came to Minnie’s Haberdashery, which was totally unnecessary. I don’t mind the violence, that’s a Tarantino trademark of sorts, but what I do mind is a badly written screenplay with easily correctable errors.
The acting was great Samuel L. Jackson did a great job making a non-likeable character almost likeable, Kurt Russell does the same thing, as does Walton Goggins. Jennifer Jason Leigh does an adequate job with a badly written character, she had no depth whatsoever. Not sure why Zoe Bell is in the film albeit for a cameo, her New Zealand accent belongs in this film like boxer shorts belong on the statue of David. Thankfully, Channing Tatum has a relatively small role, and still convinces me that he cannot act.
Director Quentin Tarantino had a visual masterpiece going the mountainous background, the snowy foreground, the marvelous cinematography, but then writer Tarantino cut director Tarantino off at the knees, he forgets about the beautiful outdoor locations, and traps the characters indoors in a dark, dank cabin. I don’t know why Tarantino kept showing a cross in the wilderness, if he was trying to infer that one of these characters was Christ-like, he’s sadly mistaken. And actor Tarantino doesn’t help director Tarantino’s vision, with a robotic reading of the narrator’s role. The scenes run too long, but Tarantino thinks that every scene is the perfect length as is. He gets good performances from the actors, but he has worked with Jackson many times, and Madsen at least once, so he’s not breaking any ground with them.
Hateful Eight: Eight Ain’t Great.