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DVD: The Hateful Eight | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: The Hateful Eight

DVD: The Hateful Eight

Torrents of blood in the Wyoming snow

'Thoroughly idiosyncratic': Jennifer Jason Leigh as Daisy Domergue

Tarantino’s latest bloodfest is a claustrophobic piece of cinema in which a very wild bunch, holed up in a Wyoming shack in the middle of a blizzard, confront their various pasts, recent and less so, and gradually eliminate each other in a stunningly staged series of surprises, reversals of fortunes and outbursts of homicidal frenzy.

Tarantino is the master of meta-narrative, subverting genre and yet paying homage to it. This is a riveting story of the old frontier but also a meditation on the Western, not least the sub-genre that draws on the violent heritage of the Civil War, which Tarantino quite rightly, in this film and in Django Unchained, identifies as the foundation myth of modern America, in sharp oppostion to the more comforting myths around the pursuit of human rights and liberty.

Cinematographer Robert Richardson’s Panavision lenses, relics of the 70mm golden age, provide stunning wide angles for the landscapes, as well as an unnerving sense of intimacy in the close-ups. In a film that's packed full of knowing references to movie classics, Ennio Morricone’s soundtrack wisely steers clear of echoing his work in the Spaghetti Westerns that made him famous. His score is a masterpiece of the art of knowing when to hold back and when to loose his orchestral guns.

The acting in this unfailingly entertaining film is outstanding, as befits a movie built on warring antiheroes, both larger-than-life caricatures and winningly human. Jennifer Jason Leigh gives a thoroughly idiosyncratic performance: snarling and petulant, her face awash with the blood and vomit of one of the victims. Tim Roth shines as a psycho who wears his cool yet treacherous Britishnness on his sleeve. Samuel L. Jackson towers over them, a freed slave who's risen through the ranks, both ruthless and noble.

The DVD contains featurette on the making of the film with an interview of Tarantino.

Tarantino is the master of meta-narrative, subverting genre and yet paying homage to it


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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