Bone Tomahawk

tn_bonetomahawkBefore THE HATEFUL EIGHT, Kurt Russell first teamed with his crazy mustache on a different ensemble western with bursts of outrageously brutal violence. BONE TOMAHAWK is kinda like a John Wayne movie that happens to bump into CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST for a minute. But don’t get too excited about that high mash up concept. For the most part it’s a straight up western, for people who enjoy westerns. It’s just that it’s got a scene or two that might make a few of those guys spit out their coffee.

In the opening scene two murderous bandits, Buddy (Sid Haig) and Purvis (David Arquette), trespass on some kind of skull-decorated burial ground that Indiana Jones might be able to tell them about. They were just talking about what’s proper to do with the Bibles of the travelers they murdered on the road, but they do not show the same concern for this particular culture. Anyway, they get into some trouble, you could say.

Purvis escapes and makes it into the town of Bright Hope, where he is not welcome, and quickly ends up shot and arrested by Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Russell). But during the night some kind of savages attack the jail, tearing one man apart and abducting Purvis, a deputy (Evan Jonigkeit, Toad from X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST), and a local doctor (Lili Simmons, who I guess is on Banshee, but I honestly thought she was Katherine Heigl). She was at the jail to attend to Purvis’s bullet, and yes, for the record she drops the slug into a metal canister. Anyway she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time, she gets abducted. Most of the movie is about the rescue party traveling to cannibal territory to try to get them all back.

still_bonetomahawkThe culprits, we learn, are not a real Indian tribe, but barbaric cave-dwelling inbred troglodytes, kinda like the savages in OFFSPRING (the book by Jack Ketchum, basis of the crappy movie that spun off into the excellent THE WOMAN). This is a cool way for the story to follow traditional western tropes without making us feel like Redskins fans. And since the Native who provides the exposition (Zahn McClarnon [Holy shit, that’s Hanzee, the most badass character from Fargo season 2! He’s only in this one scene, though]) says that white men wouldn’t notice the difference, there’s kind of an implication that horrible deeds attributed to the tribes could’ve really been done by these fuckers, and misunderstood by dumb white people. Later we do see that they like to scalp people.

It’s also worth noting that the troglodytes are racist when it comes to who they eat. Not important, but an interesting detail.

You know me, I like a good tribe-of-mutant-savages movie. This group includes such characters as Wolf Skull, Boar Tusks, Eagle Skulls, Sharp Teeth and Misshapen Troglodyte. But honestly they’re not in it enough to feel like the subject of the movie. It’s not really a movie about monsters. It’s about the fully evolved, terranean characters on this journey. This probable suicide mission starts with the two men who “don’t have a choice,” the sheriff and the doctor’s husband Arthur O’Dwyer (Patrick Wilson, also from Fargo season 2!), who the sheriff understands must go despite an ever-worsening leg injury that slows them down and could eventually require amputation. For his part Arthur is aware of slowing them down and tells them to go ahead of him with hopes to catch up while they sleep. And they don’t argue, they just do it. Everybody here is very aware of the “man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do” ethic.

mp_bonetomahawkAlso insisting on going along is backup deputy Chicory (Richard Jenkins, unrecognizable at first), a goofy, somewhat doddering old man always trying to prove himself valuable even though nobody else thinks he needs to. He brings a good combination of determination and humanity, not wanting to just shoot everybody. He’s the comic relief but also a deceptively good deputy.

On the other hand there’s fancy-dressing John Brooder (Matthew Fox), an asshole, but admirable in that he felt a duty to help. Based on his look you might think he’d be an aristocrat who thinks he’s tough but finds out this business is too much for him. To the contrary, he’s a mass killer of Indians (“Strange thing to boast about.” “It’s not a boast. It’s a fact.”), like the Chris Kyle of the Old West, and that either is a sign that he’s crazy or a thing that has damaged him. He seems to have the potential to go Mr. Blonde on them at any moment.

Since this had a little buzz from Fantastic Fest but went the limited/VOD route right away I wasn’t sure how legit it would be, it could be a phony-feeling young indie dude’s fake version of a western. I’m happy to say that skepticism was unnecessary. It’s the real deal. Nice cinematography (by Benji Bakshi, veteran of seven Billy Blanks Tae Bo videos!), convincing period detail, a nice deliberate pace, even a not-ironic-I-don’t-think end credits cowboy song with the excellent title “Four Doomed Men Ride Out.” Like most of my favorite westerns this one is largely about the relationships of the characters, some guys in the grim position of having to go on a dangerous mission, bonding and having each other’s backs, and trying to overcome their own fears and weaknesses.

The main cast are all excellent. Russell is a more upstanding, more John Wayne-like character than in HATEFUL EIGHT. More lovable. Wilson is actually very similar to how he is in Fargo, a quiet, calm, but unrelenting man who keeps turning out to be tougher than expected. At first I thought Fox might be in over his head, but maybe he just looked funny with the mustache and the small hat. He works. Jenkins, though, absolutely steals the movie. With his declarations of “it is the official opinion of the backup deputy that…” he gets all the laughs, but he’s also a character who can be very sensitive without it ever making him seem weak. After Brooder shoots two Mexicans seemingly without cause, Chicory walks over and looks at the bodies for a little bit before moving on. Like they at least deserve that much. It’s the little moments like this that make it work.

Rookie writer-director S. Craig Zahler is an author with a bunch of novels under his belt, including at least one western and some crime and sci-fi stuff. That makes sense. This is a very literary movie. Sure, it uses its silences and wide open spaces well, but its biggest strengths are its characters and the words they say. It never feels like he’s mimicking the Coen Brothers, but he seems to have a similar interest in archaic language. The conversations are interesting for the word choices alone. I think my favorite moment in the whole movie is just what Sheriff Hunt says to a man about to die on the mission. Instead of an obvious wording like “we’ll finish what you started” or “you won’t die in vain” or whatever, what he says is “We’ll make sure all this has value.”

I liked this one.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 5th, 2016 at 11:56 am and is filed under Reviews, Western. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

46 Responses to “Bone Tomahawk”

  1. I hate to be the PC whiner de rigueur but, as much as I liked this movie, I couldn’t help it but find it a little bit racist.
    I mean, how can you get away, in this day and age, with the mean savage indian trope?
    Well, you make the Indians mutant cannibals and, voilá, everything is solved.
    Even if the only good Native American is a coward whose only input is to provide exposition without doing anything else, because this is a cowboys-only-mission.
    And even if one of those heroes is a totally racist gentleman who seems to be right all the time and whose main motivation is love.
    Richard Jenkins is the shit though.

  2. Since this review mentioned both “Banshee” and “badass characters”, apparently one of the cannibals is played by Geno Segers, a.k.a. that scary native american one man murder machine with the sad eyes from BANSHEE.

    Still waiting for this movie to come out in Germany. It’s been on top of my watchlist ever since it was announced and even the often cited criticism of it being more a “slow paced western” than a “real” horror movie, just made me want to watch it more.

  3. I enjoyed this one as well. The genre mash up might turn some people off, but it is a good movie. The first 2 thirds of the film play out almost like a remake of THE SEARCHERS but the third act feels like something out of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. I just wish I had seen it clean without knowing where it was headed. I recommended it to a friend and he watched it without knowing anything about it a head of time and he loved the shocking and brutal turn of events in the third act. Actually I bet there are going to be a lot of people that Redbox or rent this on VOD expecting something along the lines of TOMBSTONE and they are in for one hell of a sucker punch.

  4. I was not a fan. Like The Hateful Eight, this thing was obviously helmed by someone who was resistant to almost any trimming of his script (is it surprising that they have the same editor?). People keep saying that it’s paced like this because it’s a Western or because it’s an homage to The Searchers, and they are quite simply wrong. The Searchers spans years and is still shorter than this thing. I almost exclusively watch Westerns and the only one I can think of that’s paced like this is Meek’s Cutoff (which I hated but at least it was going for something with its pacing). Some people have mentioned the Westerns of Monte Hellman and Budd Boetticher, but those are a whole hour shorter than Bone Tomahawk. Jenkins was good. Everyone else was OK, but they were all still playing stock characters with little originality. The locations and cinematography were deadly dull, there was no sense of mounting dread, and when it comes to Western dialogue, Zahler is no Charles Portis (or Ron Hansen, or even Larry McMurtry).

  5. The way this one is being reported on is definitely not doing it any favors.

    “It’s a cannibal western!”

    “Oh, cool. That sounds like fun.”

    “Except there’s hardly any cannibals in it!”

    “Oh. That sounds…less cool?”

    “Yeah, and it takes forever to get to them too!”

    “Um… Never mind, I guess?”

    So yeah, I can see being more excited to just see a Kurt Russell western that got surprisingly gruesome at the end than a horror-western that I’ve been assured barely has any horror in it. It might be nice to be surprised to end up at the fireworks factory instead of sitting in the bus wondering when we’ll get there. I’ll still check it out but I guess that’s the double-edged sword of film criticism right there.

  6. CJ- I am in the middle of watching season two of BANSHEE. I did not catch that the guy was in BONE TOMAHAWK. Anyway, pretty good movie. I liked it.

  7. SPOILERS throughout this comment.

    I personally loved this one.

    As for the pacing, yeah, sure 132 minutes is a chunk of time, but it’s not that bad. Come on people.

    Like Vern said, the character work is what makes this tick. Kurt Russel is obviously awesome and Patrick Wilson does a fine job (despite being stuck with kind of a bummer character; always hobbling and grimacing). But Jenkins totally owns it (I didn’t even recognize him until the credits; I was wondering how they got an unknown to give such a great performance, but when it turned out to be RJ I was like yeah, of course). Matthew Fox was also surprisingly great in a true bad-ass role. You never really know if he’s going to go rogue, but it turns out he truly just wanted to provide his considerable expertise to a hopeless mission. Gotta respect that. Wish he got to use the dynamite though.

    When the kill-to-end-all-kills happened (you know what I’m talking about) I screamed in my empty apartment. Sorry neighbors. But goddamn.

    I just enjoyed getting lost in the whole ethos of it. Four men who do what they know has to be done because their consciences wouldn’t let them do anything else. And no whining about it either.

    And Lili Simmons is one of the most stunningly attractive women I have ever seen.

  8. Haaaaaaaaaans, the problem isn’t necessarily the length of the film but how that length of time is used. There’s no reason to watch men ride through uninteresting, identical terrain while bloviating for that long with no build-up or dread (not to mention the excruciating amount of shots of Patrick Wilson limping and screaming and crawling). Sorry, the characters were not compelling enough for me to be captivated by watching them ride horses, camp and talk for over two hours in what is clearly some ranch owner’s backyard.

  9. Count me among those who were really disappointed watching this. Maybe I came in with unrealistic expectations after all the praise this is getting, but on paper this is exactly my kind of movie. I love slow burns that erupt into sudden violence.

    David Lambert’s post summed up the same problems I had. I did not buy the dialogue. It felt too forced and cutesy to me, except when the characters were doling out exposition. Especially that long opening conversation between Lili Simmons and Patrick Wilson.

    The cinematography, especially during the daytime in the desert, was flat and uninteresting. Desaturated and tinted orange, like most low budget shot on video fare.

    And this might be nitpicky, but you gotta distress those outfits. Make them dirty and sweaty and grimy. Fray the edges a little. The only character that had an excuse to be immaculately clean in the beginning was Matthew Fox’s character.

    I thought the troglodytes were cool though, and I always love Richard Jenkins and Kurt Russell.

  10. Actually I bet there are going to be a lot of people that Redbox or rent this on VOD expecting something along the lines of TOMBSTONE and they are in for one hell of a sucker punch.

    Funny you should mention that… A friend’s father got this on-demand because he expected “something like the Searchers or Tombstone” and let me assure you, he HATED that sucker punch.

    “If they have to resort to putting that kind of shit in westerns nowadays, I’d rather they not make them. There’s a reason I don’t watch Saws or Hostels”

  11. I’m pretty much wholesale co-signing HAAAAAANS’s comments and Vern’s review, only exception being that I found Matthew Fox to be the dark horse standount performance, while Jenkins grated on me a bit (even though I know that’s kind of the idea with his character). I think it is definitely is more of the slow burn, talky, character-driven piece, so if you want lots of gore and frenetic energy, this one will trigger some ADD. I strong-liked it, though.

  12. Glad to see this get some love. I saw it without knowing anything about it and ended up really loving it. Great actors, great dialogue, great unexpectedly brutal bursts of violence. I was enjoying the western road trip section a lot, and was kind of blown away by how insane it got at the end. That one specific kill that’s been alluded to is truly shocking. I’m a relatively jaded viewer of violence and gore, and I was stunned.

    Other notes: Banshee is awesome, and Vern (and everyone, really) should watch it. Final season coming soon. You’ll be able to binge all 38 episodes and get a complete story when it’s done.

    Majestyk, man, in the least-hostile, most-sincere way possible — when’s the last time you liked something? You’re a fan of cannibal westerns, but it sounds like this one has already disappointed without you even seeing it.

  13. “Sorry, the characters were not compelling enough for me to be captivated by watching them ride horses, camp and talk for over two hours in what is clearly some ranch owner’s backyard.”

    I liked the movie, but I can definitely understand this sentiment. Some of the movie looks incredibly cheap; I think it might be a side effect of seeing Hateful Eight first, but seeing Kurt Russell in a similar-looking role made the thing look even cheaper.

    I also thought the faux-“Deadwood” dialogue wasn’t always as good as it seemed to think it was, although there were some lines that sang, like the “value” line Vern mentioned.

    A mixed-bag overall for me, but I can say that the big gruesome kill in this movie will probably give me nightmares forever. I’m cringing just thinking about it.

  14. JTS: I know, it’s a problem. I do manage to like stuff all the time but it hasn’t gotten covered here in a while. I’m trying to cut down on the comments where I only have negative things to say, because they do add up and paint a picture of me I’m not proud of and don’t really feel reflects me as a person. oy takes time to change the essence of a man, though, and sometimes I slip up.

    I was really just talking about how the coverage of the movie kind of spoiled it for me. I would have liked to discover the shape it was gonna take on my own. Hopefully I’ll still like it when I see it.

  15. That bit o’ violence toward the end is one of the few times I’ve ever audibly said “holy shit” while watching a movie with a bunch of other people. Yikes.

    Good movie.

  16. Just watched this over Christmas with my family and really enjoyed it. Solid performances, scary villains (that bone whistle in their throats was particularly lovely), and plenty of time to chew on each scene. I liked that they took their time with the road trip. It was a lot of preparation and pain for a quick payoff (kind of like how most things in life are.)

    While I appreciated that they were very careful not to associate “savages” with the fine people of the First Nations, I could have used a little more bigotry from the characters. This was the 19th Century and everyone was not quite so enlightened as they are today. Everyone was so damn tolerant it took me a little bit out of the story, but maybe they just raise people right in the town of Bright Hope.

    And how about how the cannibals kept their women as “breeders”? Damn, that was that horrific. Thought that was a nice little homage to the The X-Files’ “Home” episode with the inbred murderer family. Anyway, it wasn’t something that I’d necessarily jump at watching again, but it was a nice diversion and had a couple of nice “Oh My God” shocker moments in there.

  17. I got SUPER PUMPED when Hanzee showed up, then he immediately goes “yeah, I don’t want to die so I’m not gonna come with you suicidal idiots.”

    You didn’t mention it but I thought the gore here was used more effectively than in Green Inferno. That scene where the other deputy gets split in half was nuts.

  18. I really liked this movie especially the way it slowly descends into it’s horror as if the heroes are slowly traveling into the heart of darkness.

  19. I don’t know how I managed to miss this movie considering that I like Kurt Russell and westerns but it’s definitely now on my radar.

  20. Hey guys, long time reader, first time poster.

    Just finished watching this one and I’ve gotta say, it had me by the short and curlies for the duration. I was concerned by the run time, but once I dimmed the lights and got comfortable I was completely absorbed. The pace was definitely on the slow side, but at the same time it was so deliberate and carefully edited that I couldn’t look away.

    The longer scenes and bouts of dialogue added to the sense of dread too, simply because I knew the troglodytes didn’t mess around and didn’t want to see any of the leads get tomahawked after getting to know them so well.


    As for the gore, that one howler was a scene for the ages, but I really felt Matthew Fox’s demise too. Great line as well, “….I’m too vain to live as a cripple, this is my spot” or something to that effect. I’ve always found him a boring scene presence, but dude nailed it in this one.

  21. Permit me to opine for a brief interlude – it’s rare for a movie to get a hold of me these days (except for you CREED, you know I love you), and even rarer that I’ll watch one twice in the same week like I did this, but yeah I loved it. It was exceptionally good for a modern western, with a hell of a lot of precise character details, like Chicory’s love of reading books in the bathtub, or Brooder’s immaculate grooming and snobbery – “That’s one ugly horse”.

    I was drawn to a second viewing mostly for the great dialogue, and how Jenkins played Chicory as a ten year old boy –

    Brooder – “What are you, somnambulate?”

    Chicory – (all defensive) “That’s personal.”

    I’ve always disliked Russell’s cowardly version of Wyatt Earp in TOMBSTONE (for reasons I tried to articulate under my slave name some time ago), and thought it ruptured the entire tone of the movie, but he was such a great character in this, flawed but determined and honorable, selfless and ultimately tragic.

  22. How was Russell cowardly in Tombstone? I remember him being a real mensch. There’s a great interview with him on the happysadconfused podcast by the way, alluding to the fact that he basically ended up directing that movie.

  23. Testing 1,2, testicles 1,2…fuck you spambot captcha….

  24. I don’t know what to do with that.

  25. Okay, sorry, I’ve spent the past day being brutalized by the troglodyte spambot police, fuckers tried to cut me open and shove a hot whiskey flask in my guts. Hopefully this comment gets through…And thanks for the tech support Vern!

    Regarding TOMBSTONE and Russell’s Earp – I don’t dislike the film as much as I think Earp is the weak link that tears it apart. He spends the majority of the film chasing strange actress-pussy and being a jerk to his wife, backing down from gunfights that end with innocent senior citizens murdered in cold blood, to then do a jarring 180 and slaughter an entire posse of thugs via a murder montage (easily the best part of the film, especially his quick-draw on Johnny Ringo with a slug to his mug). It’s bipolar behavior, and inconsistent characterization. Or maybe I just think he’s a dick, I don’t know.

    The film’s infamous production troubles no doubt caused some tonal problems. But I like the movie enough that I’ll return to it now and again, since I’m fascinated enough by it’s flaws to want to know more about it why it doesn’t quite work as a whole.

  26. The strange actress thing I’d agree with – the love interest is properly corny here, and Dana Delany was the weak link for me, just the frontier version of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The film should have had the courage to leave the relationship between Wyatt and Doc Holliday front and centre, as that was the real love story. It wasn’t Wyatt who shot Ringo by the way, but Doc, who gatecrashed his duel in a final gesture of friendship.

  27. Also there was a catalyst for the jarring 180 – it was preceded by the maiming of one of his brothers, and the killing of another.

  28. Oh yeah Doc, my bad. Kilmer’s Doc is one of the best things about the film.

    The 180 was way off for me because of the lack of consistent legend/character build-up. I’m comparing Earp to Eastwood’s Munny in UNFORGIVEN I guess, who we are told is a killer of women and children and all round mean bastard all throughout the story, so when his best friend is murdered and he goes ape-shit, we’re on board for the reckoning. Earp, not so much.

    I’m due for a re-watch of TOMBSTONE, and I’ll put in a request for Vern to consider giving us his surgical skills to take it apart, and see what he makes of it!

    But I might go a third round with BONE TOMAHAWK tonight. I’m pretty sure it’s a minor classic already, at least to me.

  29. Tombstone does feel a bit lightweight, all in all, compared to something like Unforgiven. It’s definitely got a touch of the TV movie about it, and it’s only Val Kilmer and maybe Sam Neill elevating the film above that. But I still love it, I even love Michael Biehn’s wild-eyed overacting. Kurt Russell knew they could have done more with it, and has said as much, that “it was good, but could have been…great” or words to the effect.

    Bone Tomahawk though – really liked this one. I tend to send on copies of modern Westerns to my dad if I think he’d enjoy them. This is not one of those. He would sit happily through 90% of it and then curse the fall of western civilisation.

  30. Sam Elliott, even.

  31. Billy Bob Thornton! “You just gonna stand there and bleed?”

    The film lacks a certain grit, but overall I think it’s fun, and Val Kilmer just crushes it. I think I was just saying somewhere else here, but I’ll say it again: Val Kilmer (like Vern) is a national treasure. It’s too bad that his weight or health or whatever else it is has prevented him from getting really solid, visible roles over the last 10 years. Not just for his sake, but for ours. I see him on various DTV titles on Netflix, but I haven’t had the heart to check any of them out.

  32. Skani — do yourself a favor and check out Kilmer in Coppola’s latest film, the kinda-horror-kinda-comedy completely unclassifiable TWIXT. You may not like the film (I think me, Dan Prestwich and the French were the only ones who did) but Kilmer goes full Fat Brando in it. There’s a scene where he gets drunk and tries to write a sentence for his novel, but ends up doing impersonations of… ah, you just have to see it. Kilmer’s crazier than ever (I have a friend who swears that he spends most of his time in Arizona Whole Foods grocery stores, aggressively hitting on soccer moms) but he’s just as fun a screen presence as he ever was, and maybe more so.

  33. Well in that time Kilmer has got to appear in PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS, MACGRUBER (which I predict will endure quite well as a cult movie), worked with Terrence Mallick, Werner Herzog, Francis Ford Coppola, did some kind of one man show about Mark Twain, and last and probably least but still kind of cool got to be the new voice of KITT. Maybe not a dream filmography, but there are worse ways to spend a decade.

  34. MACGRUBER’s cult classic followership grows every day. Once you actually get people to watch it, most of them tend to love it. (Let’s be honest here. The main reason why it bombed, was because it was fucking MACGRUBER! One half of the target audience had no interest in watching it, because the SNL skits weren’t really funny and the other half had no interest to watch a MACGYVER parody 20 years after every MacGyver joke had been told. But once you tell them that it’s nothing like the skits and more of an 80s one man army action film parody [and a good one], they are more open to it.)

  35. I love MacGruber. I also distinctly remember Val Kilmer’s most unfortunate ***SPOILER**


    Port of Call is also a pleasant exception. But besides these (and maybe an obscure supporting role in some Denzel and Tony Scott movie of the week), what else has he had?

    Subtlety, you’ve sold me on Twixt. I’ve thought about trying it many times (it’s called to me from Netflix…don’t know if it’s still there), but you’ve pushed me over the edge. :)

  36. I don´t know. Rewatching MACGRUBER I was kind of bored. The jokes were not as fun as I remembered them. But maybe I was in a bad mood because I stopped watching it after forty minutes. I may give it a new go at a later date.

  37. I really liked Kilmer in SPARTAN, which falls just outside 10 years but hey. There’s a Vern review of that someplace, and it’s Mamet and actually a pretty good companion to REDBELT. Also, check out FELON, which looks similarly cheap and nasty but is elevated by Kilmer’s performance, and how could you mention MACGRUBER over KISS KISS BANG BANG?

    This is all off-topic, but there are no forums anymore, so where to go?

  38. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is technically 10+ years-old, but yes, Gay Perry is the man.

    I only saw the MacGruber film once and enjoyed, but that fact that I only saw it once probably says something. I love the sketches, and Will Forte rocks. I really enjoy his show.

    Spartan I also saw and remember being good, but never revisited that either. That was a Mament, and I really enjoyed Spanish Prisoner, but after that I kind of lost interest in him. Heist I recall being a bit cliched and some of the dialogue being just too much (Ricky Jay already lays it on pretty thick, but I recall both him and Hackman having some real groaners, and this is where Mamet tries to go full Shyamalan in terms of the plot twists).

    Oh, wait, I forgot Redbelt. That was awesome.

    My only point with Kilmer is that he could be a leading man or a remarkable character actor, and he’s not being used to his full ability. Whether that’s on him or “the industry” or what, I can’t say. But I gotta fever, and the only Rx is more Kilmer.

  39. I’m one of the few who prefer WYATT EARP over TOMBSTONE. I especially think Dennis Quaid’s Holliday is better than Kilmer’s, especially in his cadence. Neither film hold up as much as well these days for me, though I would love to see Russell’s cut of TOMBSTONE. Kilmer is great though. It’s sad about the cancer, hope he beats it. Really would have liked to have seen his Mark Twain show, the little bit of it I did on CBS one time convinced me he could do it.

    Zahn McClarnon was very good here, and to Vern’s point, great in the last season of FARGO. He’s also excellent on LONGMIRE. Richard Jenkins is someone I always watch out for too, ever since SIX FEET UNDER. So it was a pleasant surprise to see him here too. The movie’s okay, and for a debut feature Zahler made it decently enough. I think with some refinement he’ll be someone to look out for.

  40. I could have easily done without the entire first hour of WYATT EARP. That hour where Costner plays Earp like a golly-gee Simple Jack type. It should have started with the scene where a sodden, vagabond Earp gets dragged out of a horse stable, rolls a guy in the street, steals his horse, goes to a cheap brothel but gets crowned in the bath and dragged off to jail. As it is, it’s rather self-important of Costner and bloated.

  41. Shiiiiiiiit, that was a great one! And that comes from someone, who doesn’t like Western that much. I mean, I try to like them, because their concept totally appeals to me, but I haven’t seen many that I actually liked. Coincidentally one of them that I liked, was THE SEARCHERS, which this movie seems to be a very lose remake of, including how the bad guys (“Injuns” there, “Not Injuns” here) are some subhuman demonlike force of evil. Okay, here it is taken to intentionally grotesque, yet politically correct heights, so thumbs up from me in that regard.

    Anyway, I liked it a lot. It’s by far the best movie I’ve seen this month. And not just because my movie month has been pretty shitty to mediocre. (Up until this late afternoon, the two best movies of the month were THE FINEST HOURS and ACE VENTURA!!!)

  42. CJ’s comment brought me back to this review, where I learned that my last word on the matter was so pissy, ignorant shit that embarrasses me. I have watched this film since then and it is indeed very enjoyable and not boring at all. I don’t know what my problem was.

  43. The trailer for this writer/director’s new movie doesn’t do much for me (just a matter of personal taste), but it’s on top of my watchlist, just because of how good BONE TOMAHAWK was.

    Brawl In Cell Block 99 - TEASER TRAILER

    Official Selection of 2017 Venice Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest. In theaters October 6. In BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99, a ...

  44. Fuck. Yes. Love it already. The sweetass 70’s vibe, the dialogue. Vaughn systematically dismantling a car with his fists. Don “The Don” Johnson never wears out his welcome with me, even if he’s always the supporting hardass cop/detective.

    Looks like Zahler has found the best use for Vince Vaughn post-comedy – ladies and gentlemen, meet our new Bruce Willis…

    Mastor Troy - Google+

    Mastor Troy - Google+

  45. The Undefeated Gaul

    October 17th, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    This Zahler guy is something special. BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 is one bleak and brutal film, veeeery slow but absolutely gripping throughout. And fucking hell, what an ending. After seeing this, BONE TOMAHAWK and reading his book Wraiths of the Broken Land I can safely say I’m now down for whatever this guy does next. And knowing thats a film called DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE (has there ever been a better title for anything?) starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn I’m very excited indeed!

  46. Finally watched this one last night. I think it was pretty great. Probably Zahler’s best film. And I’m including Dragged Across Concrete in that assessment. I also watched that one last night and thought it was pretty great. Vern, I think you’re going to love it. Gibson does his best work in years. He also plays a pretty racist dude, which is clearly intentionally provocative. Same for a few other characters, including a weird diatribe from Don Johnson where he seems to be preaching alt-right talking points to the audience. I don’t know enough about Zahler’s politics to know how much he sympathizes with these views, but apparently some people have decided that he is a far right racist etc. I’m not sure (said the white guy). I’m really interested to hear your take.

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