Quentin Tarantino returns to screens this winter with the ultra-violent Western, The Hateful Eight. The story brings together a despicable coterie of villains and pits them against one another in a remote snowed-in outpost. As with every Tarantino film, The Hateful Eight is violent, verbose, and visually sumptuous. This one is also a movie of reflection, a conscious callback to the single setting bravura of the filmmaker’s debut, Reservoir Dogs. The film reunites the director with Dogs co-stars Michael Madsen and Tim Roth, as well as a who’s-who of other acolytes including Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, and the ubiquitous Samuel L. Jackson.
The film is reportedly also about Tarantino working through his feelings about John Carpenter’s horror film, The Thing, released in 1982. The Hateful Eight contains many conscious nods to the previous film, including its frigid setting, the casting of Carpenter favorite Kurt Russell, gruesome imagery, and best of all, the return of cinema’s greatest composer, Ennio Morricone, who in addition to creating new music for the film, incorporated unused elements from his Thing score. The current three-hour roadshow version begins with a traditional overture, with Morricone’s haunting melodies playing out uninterrupted as the theatre lights dim. This is one of life’s greatest pleasures.