“Bone Tomahawk” Review

21 March, 2016

Director: S. Craig Zahler
Screenwriter: S. Craig Zahler
Director of Photography: Benji Bakshi
Cast: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox

Synopsis: A Wild West sheriff and his loyal deputy team up with a local cowboy and a gunslinger as they set out on an intense operation to save a woman who was kidnapped by a band of cannibals.

Bone Tomahawk Review:

A movie that never once apologises for its actions, “Bone Tomahawk” is a “True Grit” story with a bad attitude and one that outright rejects the G-rated nature of Classical Hollywood westerns as writer-director S. Craig Zahler sends a conventional all-male troupe on a mission just so that he can go crazy “Apocalypto”-style in the final act. In order to make its later scenes all the more shocking, the film establishes itself as a somewhat dreary Wild West tale in which a number of famous faces hide behind shabby costumes and await their later fate.

There’s a quotidian humility to the men’s situation, acutely underscored by the production’s lack of pizazz; a suggestion from Zahler that perhaps all of them have already accepted their impending doom but that they still have no awareness of the fact that they’re walking towards hell on earth. While the scenes in the latter portion of the movie are as gruesome as they come, with some pretty fabulous make-up effects added for good measure, the personalityless cave-dwelling cannibals are monsters with no real backstory or substance. They exist as a threat to the frontiersmen and display little brain capacity outside of their brutal survival instincts. At best, the creation of such characters is a neat excuse for a grisly payoff and that’s exactly what you can expect in this old-fashioned yet ominous tale of basic survival.

With a sanded-around-the-edges script delivered with the accented flow of Southern poetry, “Bone Tomahawk” is a well-constructed yet downbeat take on the absolute carnage surrounding a quaint yet sheltered community. “Pain is how your body talks to you. You’d do well to listen to it” says the age-old Sheriff to his friend and this is exactly how Zahler treats the entire movie. Foreshadowing warns of a grim truth on the horizon and the push for strength and nobility has little pay-off when danger has this much force.



Review Date
Bone Tomahawk
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