On this page I have film reviews or other film-related comments, which I will blog before they become Sprint Reviews on the s2c database. I would love to hear any comments you might have.
Quentin Tarantino delivers another engaging, black comedy screenplay, this time a Western set in Wyoming during a blizzard. It takes place all in one long, hellish day. The film is almost 3 hours in length, but it felt like half the time. I was so focused on the dialogue, which is the result of some, or all of the main characters, being confined in two spaces; first the inside of a stagecoach, then later in Minnie's Haberdashery, a stagecoach roadhouse in the middle of nowhere on the way to the town of Red Rock. Because two of the characters are bounty hunters, Major Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and John Ruth (Kurt Russell), the dread of something awful going wrong lingers in almost every scene. John Ruth is nicknamed the Hangman because he has the reputation of delivering his bounty alive to be hanged, while Major Warren usually kills his bounty because it is easier to deliver. This is their job and they are intent on drawing their paycheck no matter who gets in their way.
I was reminded of RESERVOIR DOGS, THE PETRIFIED FOREST, STAGECOACH and DAY OF THE OUTLAW, all excellent films in comparison. Michael Madsen and Tim Roth, who were both in DOGS, reappear along with other Tarantino regulars, Jackson, James Parks and Zoë Bell. Tim Roth plays the polite, European character usually played so well by Christoph Waltz. Jennifer Jason Leigh as John Roth's bounty donates her face to be bloodied in many violent, Tarantino-esque, tongue-in-cheek ways. Bruce Dern, still looking as confused as he did in NEBRASKA, does fine work as the confederate General stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time. The snowy, mountain winter scenes are beautifully photographed by Robert Richardson in and around Telluride, Colorado. The wonderful Ennio Morricone soundtrack, sometimes sounding like Bernard Herrmann, adds the final ingredient for this latest tasty Quentin Tarantino gem, which rewards all of his fans for the long wait and mega-hype usually surrounding his films.
A note on the viewing experience. I tried to see the 70mm film version during the first week when it was released exclusively nationwide, called The Roadshow. When I arrived 30 minutes before the show, I found out there was already a line forming one hour in advance, so I was one of the last in line. I got a refund planning to return at a more convenient time. In retrospect, I'm sorry I missed out on seeing the 70mm film print, but not sorry to have missed the crowds. All exclusive performances were sold out. Ironically, when I went today, only 8 people were in the theatre. And, ironically instead of paying the exclusive ticket price of $14.99, I paid only $6.99, 8 dollars less. Eight was my lucky number today.