Well, so, guess I took a few months off from the blog without realizing I was GOING to take a few months off. But so it goes...
Anyway, hey, back to it! BONE TOMAHAWK! If you see just one Kurt Russell western this year, may I humbly suggest you make it this one. Actually, feel free to see Hateful Eight too -- I'd like it to succeed so maybe the door opens to even more westerns, and it ain't bad -- but Bone Tomahawk is superior in every way.
The plot is simple. The wife of a local cowboy is kidnapped by marauding "troglodytes" (yep, that's what they call them) and Kurt and his intrepid associates head out to find her and bring her back. Suffice to say there are some encounters along with way with varied and sundry, and then things take a very surprising turn. The less said about the "turn" the better, though if you watch a preview it's pretty clear this is an uncompromising horror western and not a straight ahead oater.
What makes this one stand out are the great performances by Russell, Richard Jenkins, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Lili Simmons, Sid Haig (!) and David Arquette, who are speaking dazzlingly witty and gritty dialogue by writer/director S. Craig Zahler. This movie got my vote in the WGA awards for best screenplay -- it's really that good. Richard Jenkins especially stands out, taking what could have been a stereotypical "Chester" role (is that reference too old? Gunsmoke? Longest running Western in TV history? Anyone? Anyone?) and fleshing it out into a full blown, emotional character.
Then there's the ending. I didn't know anything about the movie going in except "Western", so the conclusion caught me off guard. It's strong stuff but works.
If you have a chance to see the blu-ray version, there is a deleted scene that I found delightful, though I can see why it was cut. I'll say no more. The "Making of" is also interesting, revealing (among other things) that the movie was shot in 21 speedy days on locations only 40 or so miles outside Los Angeles.
It's gets the full MV "Check it out!"