Quentin Tarantino’s “go for broke” approach continues in the teaser trailer for his eighth film, The Hateful Eight (The H8ful Eight).
From film to film and style to style, viewers’ reactions have varied greatly. Unless Hateful Eight re-writes history, it seems Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction will remain unchallenged as the watershed entrees in the director’s filmography. To be fair, the style and approach from Tarantino’s 90’s output, to the Kill Bill films, and his period pieces with an alternative approach to history, are so drastically different that directly comparing films only gets you so far. So, with the past set aside, let’s consider what the teaser for The Hateful Eight has to offer and what it may or may not promise.
There’s a lot to appreciate throughout the two minute tease. Visually speaking, Hateful Eight looks stunning. An impressive wide shot during the teaser’s opening seconds offers a glimpse of the snowy Colorado mountains, where Tarantino and company worked on location beginning in January 2015. If the fact that cinematographer Robert Richardson shot Hateful Eight on 70 mm film is any indication, the story will be atmospheric in the sense that the beautiful yet deadly environment will be treated as an antagonistic character in and of itself.
If there is one thread of commonality that links all eight of the director’s films together, it’s the presence of a colorful cast of characters; this story looks to stand on its own by placing no less than eight characters in tight quarters as a blizzard rages on. The teaser doesn’t give up much in the character department, but here’s what we know; Kurt Russell plays John “The Hangman” Ruth, who brings his prisoners in alive to see them hang from the end of a rope. Ruth’s latest catch is the battered-looking Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh); she doesn’t seem particularly worried about her fate and is the source of some dark humor halfway through the tease. What trouble did Domergue get herself into?
Unfortunately, the remaining six characters are hardly dealt with here, but it’s exciting enough to see so many familiar actors (Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen) return to Tarantino’s cinematic universe that fans will patiently wait for more.
In short, The Hateful Eight looks like a beautifully made film, populated by what people can only hope are characters with character (thank you, Winston Wolf), and promises a plethora of Tarantino trademarks his loyal followers have come to expect. On the other hand and judging by the teaser alone, don’t anticipate him to re-invent himself this late in the game.