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MOVIE REVIEW: FTN reviews Bone Tomahawk

February 19th, 2016 by Conor ONeill Comments


Bone Tomahawk (18)
Directed by: S. Craig Zahler
Starring: Kurt Russell,  Patrick Wilson &  Matthew Fox  
Running time: 2h 12min

Welcome to Bright Hope and its few inhabitants who’re either drunk, dead, dying or aching with pain. I won’t and can’t recommend anyone to see this movie. Save your money for something that’ll not leave you both bored at the director, S. Craig Zahler’s debut, which to my mind hopes for a great leap of both escapism from the audience, plus a creeping type of totally disregarding type of indulgence that this/and/or could be believable.

This could have been a great movie. Just look at the cast: Kurt Russell; Patrick Wilson; Lili Simmons; Mathew fox and Richard Jenkins to name the main five actors. Wee frontier town, yet there’s violence all around. Sheriff Franklyn Hunt (Russell) tries his best to keep Bright Hope crime free but this little quaint town must be twin-towned with Salem, or to be more contemporary, Damascus.

There’s only one black actor in this movie, surprise-surprise, he gets his head knocked in and entrails splashed across a stable, and that’s just the first 20 minutes of this two-hour-plus meandering tale, and the only ‘civilised’ American Indian is just a bit part character. Next morning, recently crippled and wearing a splint, Arthur O’Dwyer (Patrick Wilson) finds his wife missing. With the deputy sheriff and the accused are also on the missing list, a four-man-squad is sent out to hopefully rescue the damsel in distress. Have we really not moved beyond this in 2016?

There are of course the occasional happenings on the troupe to reach and face the troglodytes, who neither speak but grunt and survive by living on human flesh. Why such a batch of grotesquely and feral missing-links have not been tracked down and put into a P.T Barnham circus is beyond even a hiccup of the imagination.

But there are saving graces to this piece of celluloid. Old Man Chicory (Richard Jenkins) plays an absolute blinder, at times the eejit of stereotype at other a doctor, a dumb with a gun and best of all, an all-round optimist. His humanity and humour at times rescue a crippling behemoth of a movie trying to eat too much of its cherry and cake.

Thankfully there are also some nice expositions of character as the four ride and limp their way to the Trogs. Brooder (Mathew Fox), the white-suited sharp-shooter, reveals a secret along the way. O’Dwyre suffers with about to turn septic wounds, Hunt, well that’s where Russell excels; he’s brooding, sarcastic, philosophical and somehow pure in the purest sense.

Well, I’ve just ranted for a few minutes, but the main aim of this review is to go and trust me to see if I’m right? You might love it and find my review irrelevant.

I’ve watched this movie twice and found it a bore touching on too many platitudes to even believe someone and others and many backers believed in this adventure. Too many ideas and cooks spoil the broth. If you’re gonna try to twin-pack genres have a bit of awareness of the IQ of the audience.

2 out of 5 Nerds 


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Conor O'Neill is at times a playwright and a qualified journalist. He has worked for the Belfast Telegraph, Portadown Times and South Belfast Advertiser. He also contributes to various online e-zines, specialising in theatre, gig reviews and other cultural events. If you were to ask him what he does, he will say 'I'm functioning'... that's a lie. Best suited to pressure and deadlines, O'Neill thrives on the moment, the passion and the thrill of now, he's only happy when he's watching or reviewing a play.

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