Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Release Date: Available on Blu-ray & DVD March 29, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
In THE HATEFUL EIGHT, set six or eight or twelve years after the Civil War, a stagecoach hurtles through the wintry Wyoming landscape. The passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) and his fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), race towards the town of Red Rock where Ruth, known in those parts as “The Hangman,” will bring Domergue to justice. Along the road, they encounter two strangers: Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), a black former union soldier turned infamous bounty hunter, and Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), a southern renegade who claims to be the town’s new Sheriff. Losing their lead on the blizzard, Ruth, Domergue, Warren and Mannix seek refuge at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a stagecoach stopover on a mountain pass. When they arrive at Minnie’s, they are greeted not by the proprietor but by four unfamiliar faces. Bob (DemianBichir), who’s taking care of Minnie’s while she’s visiting her mother, is holed up with Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), the hangman of Red Rock, cow-puncher Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), and Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern). As the storm overtakes the mountainside stopover, our eight travelers come to learn they may not make it to Red Rock after all…
From incredibly talented filmmaker Quentin Tarantino comes ‘The Hateful Eight’; set shortly after the Civil War the film tells the story of a collection of questionable individuals who as a result of a massive snowstorm are forced to hold up together for the foreseeable future within the confines of a small establishment called Minnie’s Haberdashery wherein the goings on seem to be questionable on nearly every front. With a collection of odd strangers present and the owners’ strangely absent with only an odd and unfamiliar man claiming to have been left in charge by Minnie, they all begin to settle in for the storm as secrets and personal demons begin rising to the surface and it shortly becomes apparent that not everyone is who they claim and no one is safe.
Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained) who is surely one of the best filmmakers working in Hollywood today, he has outdone himself yet again with the truly phenomenal ‘The Hateful Eight’ which he guides with perfection and true beauty. Tarantino’s capable hand guiding his own powerful script is perfectly complimented by the incredible cast comprised here including such talented individuals as Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, James Parks and more, all of who deliver wonderful, if not outstanding performances in each of their respective roles, with Samuel L. Jackson unsurprisingly stealing the show, yet not without some true competition from the fantastic performances delivered by Walton Goggins, Demian Bichir and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
‘The Hateful Eight’ is a truly phenomenal piece of filmmaking and one of Tarantino’s best films to date (quite a statement in itself considering his continually fantastic efforts) and almost certainly my favorite film of 2015. The Ultra wide scope works brilliantly for the film and while I unfortunately wasn’t able to catch the 70mm road show release in theaters, the Blu-ray still provides a great example of the format and the frequent wide shots and roaming landscapes accompanied by the absolutely outstanding and well deserved Oscar winning score by Ennio Morricone are a true beauty to behold. This is one tense, gorgeous and dialogue driven ride featuring a talented cast at their finest that any fan of Tarantino’s work will not want to miss out on. While many who haven’t yet had the pleasure of ‘The Hateful Eight’ will have no issue with a blind purchase, for those who might be hesitant I would highly recommend making sure to at least rent a copy and give this one a watch.
Overall, ‘The Hateful Eight’ is a marvelous, beautiful and thoroughly entertaining throwback to a cinema experience many of us never had the opportunity to experience and Tarantino guides the powerhouse cast with flawless ease and the intriguing story, glorious landscapes accompanied by some bloody violence and a goose bump inducing score all combine into the best film of last year and easily one of Tarantino’s best films to date. You definitely won’t want to miss out on this masterpiece of filmmaking as Quentin Tarantino has managed to out due himself yet again.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Hateful Eight’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original extra wide 2.76:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio representative of the Ultra Panavision 70 source in which it was filmed. The video presentation looks magnificent, delivering a sharp, detailed and downright gorgeous presentation from start to finish, capturing the beautiful landscapes and wide shots with wondrous clarity and with no notable faults to be found within. Providing a rich, beautiful and warm picture even during the darkly lit and heavily populated frames and sequences and never faltering in the slightest. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that should easily satisfy the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds wonderful and provides a crisp, clean and immersive audio presentation throughout, utilizing all five available channels to surround the viewer with the gorgeous score, along with a nearly constant wind whipping about in addition to some bullets and other general activity making its way throughout the speakers, while never resulting in any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted, let alone rendered inaudible. Overall, this is an outstanding 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Hateful Eight’ unfortunately doesn’t include a great deal in the way of supplemental material, although it does include a couple of interesting behind the scenes Featurettes including behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with the cast and crew. The included Featurettes are: ‘Beyond the Eight: A Behind-the-Scenes Look’ (running approximately 5 minutes in length), and ‘Sam Jackson’s Guide to Glorious 70mm’ (approximately 8 minutes).