Uneven but good | Bone Tomahawk


Broken: Patrick Wilson, Kurt Russell, Richard Jenkins and Matthew Fox

Bone Tomahawk is an odd film. But its strangeness sneaks up on you rather than announcing itself straight to your face.

Ostensibly a Western with a fairly straightforward rescue narrative, the fact that it’s something of a genre mash-up (the other ingredient being a sparse but disturbing sprinkling of body horror) is actually not its most significant feature.

Rather, this is down to how the characters – each of them grizzled veterans of some variety – are shaped.

Particularly in the case of the frail, elderly and bumbling deputy sheriff Chicory (Richard Jenkins), this often comes in tangential bits of dialogue. On this front, writer-director S. Craig Zahler, also a novelist, is like a more sincere, less showy Tarantino. This isn’t a showcase for actors to hypnotise you with acerbic, incantatory language – it’s a showcase for actors to depict the pained, distracted nature of a group of people who are in way over their heads.


‘Troglodytes’: Things take a nasty turn when our heroes meet a pack of cannibals

In fact, another Western that also stars Kurt Russell – Bone Tomahawk’s hero figure – has been directed by Quentin Tarantino himself, and reached cinemas mere months after Bone Tomahawk appeared.

But I have a feeling that, for all its seemingly throwaway mini-monologues and its abrupt shifts in tone, Bone Tomahawk will be the one that sticks with me.

One thought on “Uneven but good | Bone Tomahawk

  1. Pingback: Swords v Cthulhu read-a-thon #7 | A. Scott Glancy | Soft Disturbances

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