Set sometime of the American Civil War, John Ruth (Kurt Russell) is transporting Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to Red Rock to be hung and along the way they pick up Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins)but a heavy snow storm halts their progress, so they stop off at Minnie's haberdashery where stuff starts to get serious.
There was a little bit of a ruckus between the Distributor (entertainment) and Cineworld that meant that The Hateful Eight was not going to be screened in three major cinema chains. From what I understand it all started when the Odeon in Leicester Square got exclusivity over a 70mm print of The Hateful Eight. To be honest, I really don't know what happened but what the 70mm format does is make the image sharper and it certainly proves effective as The Hateful Eight is one of Tarantino's finest looking films. The paranoiac shots of a snowy Wyoming are stunning and the interior shots are framed spectacularly well by the film's cinematographer Robert Richardson.
Many of Tarantino's films are driven by his excellent skill in writing compelling, dark and often witty dialogue. This prowess in writing dialogue is featured in all of his films but its never been more important than it was in Reservoir Dogs. The film that The Hateful Eight is most similar to in Tarantino's body of work is Reservoir Dogs where the film utilises the (mostly) single location to great effect, allowing the dialogue to drive the story rather than moving from one location to another. The film kicks into gear once everyone arrives at Minnie's haberdashery and from that moment the films snowed in claustrophobia really drives the tension up several notches, this tension is driven mostly by the deep mistrust between many of the characters.
As the film is driven by dialogue it requires some pretty spectacular performances from the main cast. Because everybody in the main cast are so great in thier respective roles is pretty much impossible to pick a standout performance because they all chew the scenery. Jennifer Jason Leigh relishes her role as Daisy as she gets more crazy and bloody as the film goes on, Samuel L. Jackson does what Samuel L. Jackson does in any Tarantino movie and Walton Goggins' comic timing makes his Sheriff Chris Mannix one the funniest characters in the film. The performances are all so terrific that I neglected to mention Kurt Russell who is also sensational in his role. On the more weaker side, though still perfectly fine, is Demián Bichir though that's more than likely down to his role being underwritten rather than his performance.
One of the main criticism of Tarantino's latest film is that its overlong and self indulgent, the film's length I had no issue with whatsover in fact I felt it could have drawn out the whodunnit element longer than it did. Still, it's pretty much everything you want from a Tarantino movie, it has extreme violence, memorable characters and quoteable, often darkly humorous, lines. Whilst it isn't as funny as Pulp Fiction or as tense as Reservoir Dogs, The Hateful Eight it's still gripping cinema. Tarantino is an intelligent writer and in amongst the carnage and despicable characters is genuine substance where Tarantino has a lot of say on racial and sexual politics and the criminal justice system. Any criticisms of racism or sexism is just wide of the mark as often is the case when any such accusations are made towards Tarantino.