Quentin Tarantino returns with another western after 2012’s acclaimed Django Unchained. The director cancelled The Hateful Eight two years ago when the script leaked online only to change his mind and start filming later that year. Set after the American Civil War in the snowy Wyoming winter, the mysterious western stars – of course – frequent Tarantino collaborator Samuel L Jackson along with former stuntwoman-cumactor Zoë Bell and a host of other familiar faces from the director’s canon to fill this gallery of rogues. Filmed in ultra-wide 70mm this scenically bleak yet beautiful movie is one of the director’s most violent and gritty yet, and what western is really complete without a score from Ennio Morricone?
Continuing the western theme, Leonardo DiCaprio puts in a top-notch performance as frontiersman Hugh Glass in The Revenant. When Glass is attacked by a bear he is left for dead by his team and must survive the wilderness alone. It’s another slog of a movie at two and a half hours – The Hateful Eight is over three – but again the natural beauty of the setting, pace and powerful performances soak up the time with ease.