Starring: Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Samuel L. Jackson, Walton Goggins, James Parks, Channing Tatum, Zoe Bell, Bruce Dern (Rated R 167 min).
Any film from prolific director Quentin Tarantino is startling and highly anticipated by many due to his cult status soaring ever since his notorious 1992 debut Reservoir Dogs was unleashed changing the independent movie scene forever. Violence is usually at a premium, sometimes during black comedic moments when you least expect it This snow covered Western is no different.
Being the traditionalist filmmaker that he is, much has been made of his use of old school Panavision cameras with actual film-stock in the glorious widescreen 70mm format which was released for a weeklong roadshow version with overture, intermission and a few extended scenes. This is the general release but by no means less effective, the opening title sequence proves more than encouraging for what is about to unfold.
Kurt Russell is The Hangman John Ruth on his way to Red Rock transporting prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) in a stagecoach racing against time to beat an incoming blizzard. Handcuffed together the entire time, these two have a mostly hilarious love-hate relationship. Picking up a couple of passengers is not on the agenda but Ruth agrees before the four take shelter at a friendly midway cabin before Red Rock known as Minnies Haberdashery. It is here inside the one room where trouble brews as hot as the tin pot coffee.
Trapped inside with a group of mystery men with the unlikely scenario of proprietor Minnie nowhere to be seen, apparently visiting her mother. Compelling clues come about as John Ruth quickly exclaims someone is not who they say they are, however it is the confederate character of the great Samuel L. Jackson who basically turns into Detective Columbo placing clues together to pinpoint the deceivers.
The diverse all-star cast is top notch with Jennifer Jason Leigh fascinating as the wicked focus of the possible double cross, a certain prolonged monologue while covered in spattered blood is vintage Tarantino. Twists and turns abound, prestige cinematography, in particular the raging blizzard becomes its own character, while legendary Italian maestro Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) was coaxed out of semi retirement to conduct an excellent score. Perfect fitting for this nefarious film.
Shane A. BassettSydney Unleashed is one of Australia’s premier entertainment publications exploring the latest in lifestyle trends. From Sydney’s finest restaurants, cafes and bars to the hottest in gadgets, products, and home entertainment, Sydney Unleashed is your one-stop lifestyle platform.