THE HATEFUL EIGHT – Review by Susan Granger

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Known for his penchant for approaching racism in America with profanity-laced, gratuitous hyper-violence, Quentin Tarantino delivers in this “molasses-like” story about a bounty hunter trying to transport a killer to justice. Set several years after the U.S. Civil War, it begins with a stagecoach hurtling through wintry Wyoming – until it’s stopped by Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson), a former Union officer-turned-bounty hunter who’s hauling three dead bodies to Red Rock to collect the reward. Read on…

Inside the stagecoach is bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell) with his feisty, feral fugitive, Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh), also headed for Red Rock. Joining them later is Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), a former Confederate renegade who introduces himself as Red Rock’s new Sheriff.

As a ferocious blizzard approaches, the passengers seek shelter in a rustic, remote, mountainside log cabin called Minnie’s Haberdashery. Already inside are Bob (Damian Bichir), the Mexican who’s temporarily minding Minnie’s stopover; Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), a fashionable British hangman; surly Confederate General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern); and taciturn cowboy Joe Gage (Michael Madsen).

Problem is: they don’t trust one another – for good reason. As an African-American, Maj. Warren is so accustomed to being questioned that he carries with him a handwritten letter from President Abraham Lincoln.

With “Reservoir Dogs,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Inglorious Basterds” and “Django Unchained,” Quentin Tarantino has established himself as a perversely idiosyncratic filmmaker, so it’s not surprising that he immerses himself in a revisionist glimpse of the aftermath of the racial hostility between the North and the South.

In this cold, isolated setting, Tarantino’s sluggish, rambling, dialogue-driven scenes are punctuated by gruesome carnage. Despicable duplicity is revealed and the vile agitators are killed one-after-another, like a cartoonish Agatha Christie “And Then There Were None” mystery.

With Channing Tatum and Zoe Bell in supporting roles, this retribution saga is set to Ennio Morricone’s orchestral score with evocative songs by Roy Orbison and the White Stripes.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “The Hateful Eight” is an exploitive, self-indulgent 7, a sadistic, highly-stylized Western.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.