Seeing Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight for the second time during its 70mm Roadshow presentation solidified several things for me: this is the type of film you need to see projected as big as possible, and QT is getting better with age, and, yup, The Hateful Eight is my favorite movie of 2015. The main reason for this isn’t just the gorgeous cinematography of the bleak, snowy landscape, but that the characters are so rich and interesting and the relationships between them are so fraught and tense and full of deep-seated prejudices.
As is very common, following the screening, my friend and fellow film critic Michael Casey embarked on one of our lengthy text message conversations, this one about The Hateful Eight’s characters. At one point I referred to Kurt Russell‘s bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth as “Lawful Good.” Of course, this led to discussion of what each Hateful Eight character’s Dungeons & Dragons alignment would be. I couldn’t just leave it at that, so I went ahead and made it a reality.
Below is a chart of the alignments for each of the titular eight main characters… plus the prominent supporting player O.B., to finish out the nine-box grid. If you haven’t seen the movie, these choices are as spoiler free as is possible to be. If you have, keep in mind these are where the characters would fall during the first act, pre-intermission, before true colors are revealed.
Some of these choices were harder than others.
– John Ruth is Lawful Good because, for all of his faults, he’s the only one completely committed to justice from beginning to end. Of course, he also punches a women in the face multiple times and laughs about it, but in a movie so full of nasty people, the idea of “good” is pretty fluid.
– Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth) is apparently the actual hangman of these parts. He’s Lawful Neutral through and through, engaging with characters with a kind of detached levelheadedness, summed up in his wonderful treatise on justice: “Justice without dispassion is always in danger of not being justice.”
– Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins) I decided to put in the Lawful Evil spot. Evidently the new sheriff of Red Rock, he does tend to side with law and order more often than not. That said, he’s also got a proven track record of murdering people in the course of war, and is a pretty vile racist to boot.
– Bob (Demian Bichir) was a hard one to place, but ultimately I gave him Neutral Good. While it appears he’s disinterested in what anyone’s doing, he does pluck the chickens, tend the horses, and generally help provide for the other characters for a good while.
– O.B. (James Parks) is our ninth member of the cast. A very important character, and a quite likable one, O.B. is the stage driver who brings four of the other characters to Minnie’s Haberdashery and helps out with preparing for the storm. He doesn’t dislike anyone that we know of and everybody seems to like him just fine.
– General Sanford Smithers (Bruce Dern) is Neutral Evil. He doesn’t give a good gosh darn about any of the other characters and prefers simply sitting in his chair by the cabin fire place. But, he’s also inescapably and unapologetically a Confederate general… meaning pretty much everything he says is horribly racist.
– Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) is a huge wildcard. He is a decorated Civil War legend and a trigger-happy sort, it would appear. Though some things come to light later in the movie that put his “goodness” in check, he appears overall to be on the side of the dirty-mucky angels.
– Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) was another hard one to pick, but I went with Chaotic Neutral because none of the characters can really get a read on him, and he’s very unwilling to give up his gun when asked. He seems aloof, but you can tell he can handle himself if he needs to.
– Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) is 100% Chaotic Evil, no question. She’s the catalyst for everything that happens and she’s got a lot of blood is on her hands (both physically and metaphorically). Daisy cackles as John Ruth tosses hot stew in her face, licks her own blood off her lips, and, not unlike the Joker in The Dark Knight, is several steps ahead of everyone at any given moment.
Now, these alignments don’t necessarily stay true through the whole movie, but they seem absolutely locked through the first half. What I’m saying is, it’d be a hell of a D&D campaign with all these characters playing.
Let me know where you’d put the characters (and keep it spoiler-free, please) in the comments below!
Images: The Weinstein Company
Kyle Anderson is a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter and talk to him about this movie, he loved it so much.