As promised, I’m back writing again about filmmaker Quentin Tarantino’s eighth cinematic outing this week. Whenever a new movie of his opens, it’s really an event, so this is no exception. Of late, Tarantino has been getting the attention of the Academy, so this is definitely a high profile release. Buzz had been steadily building for months now, with folks especially excited for the 70mm roadshow version being unveiled in select theaters. I’ve seen and dug the flick a great deal, so it’s a pleasure to be able to speak more about how good this film is. I praised Bruce Dern’s work in it a few days ago, but now I’m gushing over the whole thing, as well as speculating about its Oscar prospects.
Once again, this is Tarantino’s eight film, centering on a group of less than savory characters convening on a single location, namely Minnie’s Haberdashery. There’s John Ruth (Kurt Russell), Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern), Joe Gage (Michael Madsen), Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), and Bob (Demian Bichir), all trapped by a blizzard. Distrust turns to suspicion when murder occurs, with the plot becoming somewhat of a whodunit, before exploding into even more violence. QT writes and directs, with the cast, in addition to the aforementioned Bichir, Dern, Goggins, Jackson, Leigh, Madsen, Roth, and Russell, includes Zoë Bell, Dana Gourrier, Lee Horsley, Keith Jefferson, Gene Jones, Belinda Owino, James Parks, Craig Stark, and Channing Tatum. Robert Richardson handles the cinematography while Ennio Morricone composed the score.
What really works here for me is the sense of play that Tarantino is showing off. Is it absurdly violent? Sure, but in a cartoonish way that never goes over the edge. The filmmaker is showing that he’s a master of tension, using three hours and a confined space to make something really special. It’s brutal, funny, energetic, and unforgettable. The cast all find interesting notes to play, while the writing and directing is up there with the best that Tarantino has ever done. While I think this isn’t quite on the level of his masterpiece Pulp Fiction or Inglourious Basterds, it’s still really great, trust me. Especially in 70mm, it’s beautiful to look at too, with the aforementioned score likely the best I’ll hear this year.
Awards wise, this one definitely has a shot at nominations across the board, […]