Bone Tomahawk

Year: 2016
Director: S. Craig Zahler
Starring: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins
Written by Nazeer Vawda

Ever since I saw ‘Slow West’ I’ve had a real hankering for Westerns, so I’ve decided to go through the list of great Westerns – new and old – and that’s where I stumbled across ‘Bone Tomahawk’. Although this film sometimes verges on a horror movie, it is by definition a Western.

‘Bone Tomahawk’ follows the town Sheriff, Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell), builder Arthur O’Dwyer (Patrick Wilson), Deputy Chicory (Richard Jenkins) and the educated John Brooder (a scene stealing Matthew Fox), as they hunt down a tribe of cannibalistic Native Americans who have kidnapped Mr. O’Dwyers wife.

This is a very slow burning movie, but be patient with it, because it really does work so well. I can see many people getting bored and seeing it as being too slow, but I thought it worked. It offers a good 30-40 minutes for us to get to know the characters, and a further 45 minutes to see the Troglodyte cannibals. Despite this, I was immersed in the story and very much invested in all the characters and context throughout.

A lot of that is due to the actors and the superbly written characters. All four of the lead actors here did great jobs and it was particularly nice to see Matthew Fox doing something again, in what I would say is his best performance since ‘Lost’, you know that epic TV series that spiralled out of control. Honestly he was fantastic; he more than held his own alongside Kurt Russell and definitely outperformed everyone else. That’s not to say the rest of the cast were bad – they were in fact great. Each performance is executed with great skill and it makes you like the characters even more.

Great credit should be paid to director S. Craig Zahler for his script and direction. If this is just his first film, I can’t wait to see what he does next. He shot the film so well you will forget you’re watching a movie, with a rich colour palette and authentic characters which will convince you that you’re part of the life in the 1800s.

This may not be the first brutal and gory Western of 2016 led by Kurt Russell and his magnificent moustache, but it damn sure is the best. If you thought ‘The Hateful Eight’ was bloody, you ain’t seen nothing yet!

Nazeer’s rating: 8.0 out of 10
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