THE HATEFUL EIGHT
I can't deny that I'm a complete sucker for anything which is written and/or directed by Quentin Tarantino. In this case, both. This is another Western, but with a twist - it's set in snowy Wyoming! All the story you need to know at the outset is that there's a bounty hunter who's on his way to Red Rock to collect the bounty on a female murderer he has in tow, keeping her alive so that he can enjoy watching her hang!

They're in a stagecoach and end up allowing a couple more characters on-board for reasons that become clear. The storm is closing in and they ain't gonna' make it to Red Rock so have to take shelter for a couple of days in Minnie's Haberdashery, a horse-change and refreshment station en route. When they arrive there, there's a bunch of other people having done similar, sheltering from the storm, making the Eight from the title!

This is where the fun starts and Tarantino gets to work, playing in his usual way as he unfolds the story for the audience, expertly revealing just enough to keep them on their toes, using timeline shifts just enough, but not quite enough to give away key plot points too early. It's an expert skill in direction and storytelling, which he commands so well.

There are all the usual hallmarks of a great Tarantino film in attendance, including the pick of some of his favourite actors in the roles of the Eight as well as his usual trick of plucking others which meant something to him in his youth from their semi-retirement to glorify in their grand past! Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Bruce Dern.

Jackson takes the lead and is directed in doing so brilliantly. Ignoring everything else, scene by scene, and just watching him and what he's doing, the camera angles, asides, background - it's an education in film-making and such fun to watch. It's an excellently witty script with oodles of dark humour. It produces comic violence and graphic revoltingness at times as things develop. The prisoner is played disgustingly brilliantly throughout by Jennifer Jason Leigh. Who'd have thought she had this kind of role in her! Then there's the comically frightening performances by Tim Roth and Kurt Russell. So much to admire!

It's a treat to watch the camerawork and photography, long shots and short shots and creative use of focus, angles and composition in a beautifully claustrophobic set. The film keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat until the final frame. There are surprises and unexpected developments aplenty, delivered by one of our generation's maestros. It's a masterpiece which you must see.
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