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The Hateful Eight (2015)

Josh Reviews The Hateful Eight in 70mm!

This past weekend I was delighted to have the opportunity to enjoy Quentin Tarantino’s new film, The Hateful Eight, in its 70mm “Roadshow” presentation.  More details on this limited special version of the film can be found here.

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Mr. Tarantino made the unusual decision to shoot The Hateful Eight in Ultra Panavision 70, a long-out-of-use format that uses 70mm film to capture an exceptionally wide image (in the very wide aspect ratio of 2.76:1).  This is a far wider image than the standard widescreen movie image.  While an adjusted, digital version of the film is being released to theatres in January, for a few weeks The Hateful Eight is being released in a special “Roadshow” format, in the intended aspect ratio, and on 70mm film.  This version of the film has been slightly extended by Mr. Tarantino, incorporating some longer takes of certain scenes.  (More details can be found here.)  It also includes an overture at the start of the film and an intermission in the middle.  Audience members also received a cool over-sized playbook for the film as a souvenir.

I loved this presentation of the film.  Everything about the “Roadshow” was designed to make the experience of going to the film feel special, like an event.  This was very cool.  And I was quite fascinated by watching a film in this super-wide format.  The format allowed Mr. Tanantino, working with cinematographer Robert Richardson, to create some very gorgeous, very unusual compositions.

And so how was the film itself?

It was excellent.

Now, this isn’t one of Mr. Tarantino’s greatest works.  In many respects, it is a far simpler film than most of Mr. Tarantino’s other movies.  There is little of the complicated, jumbled chronology of many of Mr. Tarantino’s earlier films, nor is this film as jam-packed full of plot and incident as many of this other films.  The Hateful Eight unfolds at a far more leisurely pace than most of Mr. Tarantino’s films.  The story is, in many respects, far simpler.  And it basically only takes place in two locations — inside a horse-drawn coach and then, for the rest of the film, inside “Minnie’s Haberdashery” in the middle of a blizzard.

But I sort of loved the simplicity of the film, the way Mr. Tarantino allowed the story to slowly unfold, and the characters to slowly unwrap themselves, over the course of the film’s almost three-hour run-time.  No one, and I mean no one, can wring suspense out of dialogue the way Mr. Tarantino can.  I love the way he slowly tightens the screws on the characters and the audience, and as the film progresses the tension builds and builds and builds.  When … [continued]