The Hateful Eight
First off, I thought it a wonderful film. As the credits rolled at the end my feeling, above all, was that it was an entertaining film. A film may be good, or bad, interesting or amusing. However, it's rare for me to leave a film theatre feeling as though entertaining the audience (i.e. giving them a good time) was a primary goal. Maybe I just pick the wrong films.
Quentin Tarantino is a masterful filmmaker. His point of view is always fresh, and this is what makes him so effective and so brilliant. Despite wearing his very many influences so brazenly on his sleeve, he is, to my mind, a better artist for it. The embodiment of Austin Kleon's Steal Like An Artist paradigm, in fact. It is not that Tarantino is influenced by others (who isn't?), but how he is able to filter them and end up with a perspective that is new. Is that not the essence of creativity?
As for the film itself. The main musical theme, composed by a 80-odd year-old Ennio Morricone, is powerful, intriguing, memorable, brooding, unexpected. I suppose, that's what you get with Morricone, and that is why Tarantino wanted him. It didn't sound like other film music - a compliment! - that is often so formulaic, even when it's good.
The Hateful Eight is a mystery film, which is a decidedly unfashionable and old-fashioned genre. Not quite a murder mystery, but kind of. The Guardian review mentioned Agatha Christie and, very certainly, there are shades of And Then There Were None. Eight people, all of dubious character, are holed up at Minnie's Haberdashery, caught in a snow storm on their way to Red Rock. That, at its very essence, is the film. Within that, however, Tarantino has woven a funny, quasi-historical, empathetic, and layered story here. I have never cared especially for Samuel L. Jackson one way or another, but his performance is perfect. He brings gravitas and empathy, even though he is quite the violent little shit himself. The other performances are equally on-the-money, although I would say that his is the stand out. It would be remiss not to mention the many instances of violence against a women, as well as the derogatory use of the word 'nigger'. I can understand why both would of these factors give some second thoughts about heaping praise on the film and its director. Whilst it might be naive of me to think so, a film which tells its story without making specific judgments as to the rights or wrongs definitely gets my benefit of the doubt.