Monday, October 26, 2015

Halloween in the Land of Way - Short Attention Span Review: Bone Tomahawk (2015)

First off, I recognize that a movie like Bone Tomahawk isn't for everyone.  Secondly, I'm about to do some serious raving about this wicked western/horror hybrid, because it's almost as though this one was tailor-made for me.  Some will not like the deliberate pace that grounds the first two acts, which (after a brief but suitably gruesome opening sequence) are surely classic western fare.  Some will be totally disgusted by the third act, when the riveting character study becomes a no-holds-barred descent into pure terror that houses what may be the most gruesome death ever depicted on film.  Still others won't like the Tarantino-esque dialogue or the minimalist score.  Yet novelist S. Craig Zahler scored a direct hit with each of these choices in my book, and the end result is an involving and even moving tale that allows you to bond with a quartet of prickly leads before they march into a hellish fate with the best of intentions.   The plot concerns a posse's efforts to rescue a female doctor and a deputy from a mysterious clan of cannibalistic monstrosities masquerading as men.  Kurt Russell is both the sheriff and the star of the picture, and to say that he is stellar here isn't quite enough.  He's pretty damn sublime, operating as the heart of the picture while frequently giving way to his fellow performers with the knowledge that the audience will be fully invested in his performance regardless.  Patrick Wilson is great as a rugged cowboy who just so happens to be the female doctor's husband.  He's also saddled with a broken leg and an iron will that won't allow him to sit this one out, and his struggles with his injury lead to some of the most brutal moments in the picture.  Matthew Fox is the dandy of the bunch, a slick killer in fancy duds who is quick with a gun and supremely arrogant.  Yet he's also a man with a purpose, and like everyone else involved, he shines in the part.  Finally, there's Richard Jenkins as Chicory, Russell's trusted deputy.  This is definitely one of those "last but not least" scenarios, as Jenkins brings incredible timing to his rich part and is directly responsible for most of the laughs and the warmth in Bone Tomahawk.  We come to know and love these characters as they ride toward their fate, and the horrendous conclusion that awaits them elevates a potent picture into something more.  No, it's certainly not for everyone, but I think that Bone Tomahawk is a powerful film with tremendous impact.  As someone who loves westerns, horror movies, and Kurt Russell, I can honestly say that I enjoyed this grim shocker as much as any film that I have seen in 2015.

Final Grade: A+

Kurt Russell has a great time hitting the trail and meeting new people in Bone Tomahawk.

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