If there was any justice in this world this film would sweep the Oscars. From best screenplay to best supporting actor, this film would win it all. This first time effort is everything that a fan of cinema could ask for. The direction is beautiful, the performances are career-defining and the script could be one of the best in the past few years. S. Craig Zahler assembled a cast that fits perfectly into his harsh view of frontier life and the folly of a fool’s journey. If you have not noticed, I love this film and live for this kind of release. Its cross genre (western, horror) approach avoids the common pitfalls and offers a genuine experience. Tones shift effortlessly, without jerking you out of the film. The only movie that I could compare this to is last years magnum opus of revenge, Blue Ruin. Not in its content, but in its passion and care. Did I mention that this is a western starring Kurt Russell (as the badass sheriff), as a man of moral fortitude against a clan of cannibals? I will not give away very much in my synopsis because the less you know…the better.
The story has a simple set up. A band of blood thirsty natives invade a small town, kidnap a few citizens and set our heroes on their perilous journey. One particular citizen that is taken is the wife of a local cowboy who has a damaged leg, this impediment drives the force of this film. What follows is an unpredictable exercise in lyrical nihilism that is incomparable.
I could really go on and on, but I urge you to cough up 5 bucks and see for yourself. The tragedy is that I was unable to see this in a cinema. It is shot specifically to be seen this way and hate that most of us will never see it in its intended form. The nature shots are sprawling and serve as a constant reminder of what our characters are against. If you love westerns, italian cannibal flicks or just enjoy character driven stories, you should get something out of this movie. One warning I have to give is that Bone Tomahawk is incredibly brutal and gory. The violence is unflinching and never breaks for camp or exploitation. The fx and gore are practical and only add to its realism. All in all, this will (most likely) end up in my top 3 films this year. It is currently available on VOD and limited theatrical release.