Movie Spotlight: The Hateful Eight

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STARRING: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Groggins, Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern

DIRECTED BY: Quentin Tarantino

RELEASE DATE: December 25, 2015

A stagecoach bustles through a snowcapped frontier carrying two passengers, bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) who is handcuffed to his bounty, fugitive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), who is wanted dead or alive for murder. Ruth, known to many as “the hangman”, is known for bringing in his bounty alive to see them hang. The two encounter bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) who wears a blue Union soldier’s uniform and carries a personal letter from President Abraham Lincoln as well as his three, well, frozen bounties.

The two make use of small friendly conversation over Warren’s letter while Domergue spits obscenities in Warren’s direction, which only prompts a swift backhand from Ruth. The men agree to help protect each other’s bounty from thievery untl they make it to their destination of Red Rock. Further along the road the stagecoach driver stops for Chris Mannix (Walton Groggins) who claims to be a sheriff and convinces the men to let him on board. The four strangers continue on to find shelter from the approaching blizzard.

The group stops at Minnie’s Haberdashery, a general store on the road to Red Rock, to wait out the storm for the night. Instead of being greeted by the store owners, who are nowhere to be seen, the group is met by four more unfamiliar faces drinking hot coffee and warming themselves by the fire. Bob (Demian Bichir), who’s caring for Minnie’s shop while she’s away visiting her mother, Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), the official hangman of Red Rock,  the silent cowboy, John Gage (Michael Madsen) and General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern), former General in the Civil War. Is that eight? Suspicious of the men, Ruth disarms them all except Warren.

The men grow increasingly apprehensive of one another in relation to their assigned duties as the night and the storm overtake the small cabin. They do a good job at playing nice until the authenticity of Warren’s letter is brought up by Mannix who believes it to be a forgery. Warren admits the letter is a fake but grants him leeway with whites, which upsets Ruth. Warren turns his attention back to Smithers, who is guilty of murdering black soldiers during the war. Warren begins to explain how he brutally tortured, humiliated and killed Smither’s son. Smithers enraged with what Warren has told him reaches for the gun Warren has placed beside him and before he can pull the trigger, Warren shoots and kills him.

While the men are distracted by the confrontation the pot of brewing coffee, witnessed only by Domergue, is poisoned. Ruth and stagecoach driver, O.B. (James Parks) drink the coffee and vomit blood before falling over dead.  Now the entire room is at question and it looks as if they won’t make it to Red Rock after all.

Tarantino’s eighth motion picture is a blend of camaraderie and violence, in true Tarantino fashion that is. The movie was shot with antique lenses and 70-millimeter Panavision. Tarantino is also no stranger to the familiar faces he works with in his films. Jackson shines in one of his most complex and brilliant Tarantino roles to date. Leigh’s character commands the audience’s attention as she spits and claws her way through the film as the animalistic Daisy Domergue.

Tarantino captures real world history and racial tension to create a cast of lawless villains that are cringe worthy in their own right. Each scene is played out careful to allow the audience to draw up their own conclusions as to what each character is hiding. Even in a small cabin during a harsh blizzard, the Hateful Eight delivers action, humor and more gunsliging than you can wave your pistol at. The Hateful Eight receives 8 stars out of 10 stars.

Deja Harris is a Graduating Senior Print/Mass Communications major from Jackson, Mississippi. She will be a contributor to The Campus Chronicle for the 2016-2017 school year.

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