In more contemporary forms of mystery, other genres such as drama or horror are brought into the narrative to differ from sole mystery creations such as shows like, Elementary and Monk. This was completely evident during my viewing of The Hateful Eight, a 2015 film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The film blends genre elements of westerns, dramas, and horror with mystery, establishing a unique aesthetic and atmosphere for the film. If my grandfather was still alive today, I’d love to know what his take on this film would be since it takes some influence from western films. I remember visiting my grandparents in their Chicago home and seeing my grandfather sitting on the blue living room couch, glass of gin and lime in hand as he watched Westerns in black and white or grainy film; watched westerns where men wore cowboy hats and serious expressions and were never separated from their galloping horses. He’d love to see how the genre has been transformed today and furthermore has been combined with mystery, drama, and horror elements in Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
Quentin Tarantino has been a powerful force in the film industry since the early nineties, when he made his début with Reservoir Dogs, arguably becoming the most influential filmmaker of the decade. For the eighth entry in his sprawling, wonderful filmography (which, let me remind you, includes Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, and Inglourious Basterds), Tarantino ditches the grand scale seen in his last batch of films, and instead returns to his Reservoir Dogs roots with his second western, The Hateful Eight.
Akin to Reservoir Dogs, which for the most part took place in a single location (a warehouse), The Hateful Eight takes place in a small lodge called Minnie’s Haberdashery for what must be ninety percent of the film’s three-hour length. Though it may sound boring that the entirety of the film happens in this one location, it’s the rich, interesting characters and the dialogue that comes out of their mouths — along with the “whodunnit” mystery of the plot — that makes the film an absolute pleasure to experience and one that you won’t forget for some time.
Perhaps I should mention the characters, who are the titular “Hateful Eight.” There’s Samuel L. Jackson, who plays the ruthless bounty hunter and former Union Army soldier, Major Marquis Warren. Kurt Russell and his majestic mustache is John Ruth, a fellow bounty hunter nicknamed “The Hangman” due to the joy he finds in capturing his bounties alive to watch them hang. Ruth’s latest capture is Daisy (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a fugitive worth $10,000.