Cinematic Releases: The Hateful Eight - 70mm Roadshow Edition (2015)

quentin tarantino
Michelle reviews the film and the 70mm experience. 

70mm road show
Make one more comment about
snakes and I'll blow your
flippin' head off. 
This will be a somewhat unorthodox review as it will be both a review of Quentin Tarantino's newest film, The Hateful Eight, and also a a write-up on my experience with the 70mm "Roadshow" engagement that Tarantino set up in select theaters. Roadshow engagements are a holdover from the golden age of cinema in the 1960s, where they would make a movie release into an event with extra footage, musical interludes (called Overtures), an Intermission and lavish booklets or programs. Films nowadays are a "get-in-and-get-out" affair, not unlike going through the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant. The Roadshow can be compared to having a nice dinner at an expensive restaurant with great service--you actually get to savor the meal.

Hot off the heels of Django Unchained (2012) Tarantino once again digs his heels into the Western genre, but this time takes a more standard approach. The film follows the exploits of John Ruth (Kurt Russell) a bounty hunter who is taking a dangerous woman known as Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) back to a town called Red Rock to collect the sizable bounty on her head. He runs into Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and a blizzard ends up trapping them and some other shady folk in a Haberdashery. Thus begins a dialog driven character study with all the usual Tarantino trappings.  Some other Tarantino alumni make an appearance including Micheal Madsen and Tim Roth. Most of the film takes place inside the Haberdashery and while this sounds boring (and could have been in the hands of a lesser director) Tarantino manages to make it gripping and exciting.

I'll say it right now, Samuel L. Jackson absolutely steals the show in this film. This is hands down one of his best performances ever and his delivery of every line is pitch perfect. Second to him is Jennifer Jason Leigh as the murderous Daisy--when she isn't getting the shit beat out of her, she is snarling her way through scenes like a feral dog. You don't see many chicks tougher than this in a film and she holds her own against many formidable actors. The film is divided into chapters with each having a mini-arc and resolution. The Intermission serves as an interesting divide for the first and second half of the film and the latter half has a serious tone shift. I'm of the opinion that Tarantino writes some of the best dialog in the business and if he can keep my attention with a film that is essentially some people talking in one room for three hours that has to say something.

70mm road show
Screw your vaporizer. I'm going old school, bitches.

The "Roadshow" experience definitely added to the feel of the film, from the rousing Overture to set the mood of the film to the excellent scene that occurs just before the Intermission. Tarantino actually paid for the theater to get retrofitted with the 70mm projector so that people could enjoy what is becoming a rare event. There is something about seeing that slight flicker to the movie image and hearing the soft whir of the projector during the quieter scenes. Additionally, the ambient light that bounces back from the screen and the film grain that adds character to the film print. I'm glad that Tarantino is trying to preserve this style of film making because it really is a treat for film enthusiasts. If this is showing in your area it's definitely worth the trek to go see it in this format.

Ennio Morricone provides the incredible score (his first western score in over forty years) and it's a great fit for the atmosphere of the film. It is comprised of his unused symphonic score for John Carpenter's The Thing (1982) as well as some new material just for the film. As always, there are some more modern songs mixed into the score as well, which for whatever reason don't feel out of place. The main theme of the film is haunting and incredibly lush, which serves as an excellent mood builder for the events that unfold.

The Roadshow version of The Hateful Eight is longer than the general release cut and clocks in just over three hours. There are lots of long takes and establishing shots and the plot unfolds at a snail's pace. This might not be some people's bag, but I personally enjoyed how indulgent and lavish it was. Hopefully this longer version gets a home video release. Overall, if you are a fan of Tarantino's work in general you will find a lot to love about his newest endeavor.  Tarantino is providing a full cinematic experience that cannot be had anywhere else.


-Michelle Kisner