Attempting to beat a blizzard on the way to Red Rock, a stagecoach is stopped on its path when Major Marquis Warren requests for assistance heading the same direction as a fellow bounty hunter looking to collect on a few bounties. Though hesitant, John “the Hangman” Ruth agrees to let him join the trip and agrees to help protect each other’s rewards. Before making it to their resting point, they come across the supposed new sheriff of Red Rock stuck out in the blizzard on foot. They agree to take him in as well and proceed onward to Minnie’s Haberdashery. Upon arrival, there are several men already inside and Minnie is nowhere to be found. Suspicions start to run high as nobody appears to be who them claim.
Tarantino’s Intensity through Cinematography: While he is best known for a violence-laden style of storytelling, Tarantino has continued to claim that filming on 70mm provides a unique and detailed experience not provided by most films. It was clear that cinematography was a focus in this film, as the blizzard conditions and the single location of the haberdashery were gorgeously harsh and covered in detail. While his direction complemented his strong storytelling nature, there was also a bit too much lingering in these details that it somewhat took away from his actual story.
Complex Characters, Slowly Revealed: One of Tarantino’s other staples happens to be his deep character development. It can take an entire movie to understand the true backstory and personality of even a lead character, but this film takes that to a higher level. All the way until the end of the film, Major Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and Sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) remain a bit of a mystery. With a story covered in lies and deceit, it is no surprise that the only character who appears to be clearly who they say they are is John Ruth (Kurt Russell), the bounty hunter.
The dialogue and character development were certainly intriguing, but the way the storytelling was dragged out felt like it could have presented the same detail in nearly a hour’s less time. One could say that the audience is trying to work out the details at the same time as the characters, but it still felt like it was dragged out. There certainly were a few surprises, including the ones involving Bob (Demian Bichir), Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), and Joe Gage (Michael Madsen). It just felt like characters had to keep repeating things out loud for exaggerated dramatic effect.
Final Verdict: Between some engaging visuals and creative character development, there is much to appreciate about this film. The 2 hour 4o minute run time is not one of those things. Tarantino still continues to fill the need for people to mix that character development with some exaggeration gratuitous violence. I can definitely give some credit to Jennifer Jason Leigh for her gritty performance and ability to hold her own against such a strong male cast.
Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5