REVIEW: The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight

The Hateful Eight
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Walton Goggins

(Spoilers throughout)

The Hateful Eight is Quentin Tarantino’s most punishing film, both in terms of length and content.  His eighth feature is a three hour chamber drama that crams post-Civil War America into a cabin during a blizzard and watches as its characters tear each other apart. It seems made with a sinister glee that antagonizes the viewer more than it entertains, coaxing uncomfortable laughter and squirms as it becomes more and more sadistic.

Though much of The Hateful Eight takes place in the same room, it begins in the snowy Wyoming wilderness.  A black Yankee soldier-turned bounty hunter named Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) crosses paths with a stagecoach carrying three white people: a driver, another bounty hunter and his bounty.   Warren himself is hauling a few dead bounties with him, but the other bounty hunter, John Ruth (Kurt Russell), prides himself on taking his in alive so they can hang.

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Vanilla Sky
Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Written by: Cameron Crowe (adapted screenplay), Alejandro Amenábar & Mateo Gil (original screenplay),
Starring: Tom Cruise, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, and Kurt Russell

The trouble with success is, you always have to follow it up with something.  In the case of Cameron Crowe, who was adorned the king of both rock music and the film world in 2000 with Almost Famous, follows it up with this surreal, weird, and ultimately unsatisfying trip through the perpetual abyss of love and loss.

Another perk of success, at least in Hollywood, is that it allows you to draw in A-list names to your cause.  In the case of Vanilla Sky, Crowe draws in the great (Penélope Cruz), the good (Tom Cruise) and Cameron Diaz.  This big-name ensemble, which is led by Cruise but scene-stolen by Cruz, follows silver-spoon publisher David Aames as his life spins in and out of reality after a car crash.

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