FILM OF THE WEEK: The Hateful Eight (18)

PA Photo/The Weinstein Company.
PA Photo/The Weinstein Company.
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Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to controversy and the writer-director has been gleefully provoking audiences since 1992, when he stormed the Sundance Film Festival with his incendiary debut feature, Reservoir Dogs.

His eighth film, action-packed western The Hateful Eight, has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons on the other side of the Atlantic.

Law-enforcement unions threatened a boycott in response to the filmmaker’s comments about police brutality, some critics charged Tarantino with misogyny in their reviews and selected screenings of a 70mm version of the film were blighted with technical problems, including out-of-focus images, improperly synced sound and failing projectors.

As an ardent advocate of traditional filmmaking techniques, Tarantino shot his film with the widescreen format in mind. Very few cinemas in the UK and Ireland are equipped with old projectors.

Only the Odeon Leicester Square in London will show the 70mm Ultra Panavision version of The Hateful Eight, released today, which includes an overture composed by Ennio Morricone and a 12-minute intermission.

Technical gremlins aside, Tarantino’s eighth film is a gritty period piece set shortly after the American Civil War, which is bookmarked into six blood-spattered chapters.

The film follows bounty hunter John Ruth (Kurt Russell), as he escorts prisoner Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to Red Rock where she will be tried and hanged.

Daisy is handcuffed to Ruth and feels his wrath when she dares to shoot her mouth off.

As the bounty hunter and Daisy trek through the rural wilds of Wyoming, they are engulfed by a blizzard and seek refuge in a stagecoach lodge.

The owner, Minnie Mink (Dana Gourrier), is away visiting her mother, so Bob (Demian Bichir) is running the establishment in her absence.

Other lodgers include rival bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L Jackson), town hangman Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), quiet and unassuming cowboy Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) and former Confederate General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern).

Town sheriff Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) is also present, hoping to keep the peace.

With a sizeable bounty on Daisy’s head, trigger fingers become itchy and Ruth faces a battle of bullets and wits to cling on to his most valuable prisoner.