I was really looking forward to seeing this film. I’m a fan of both Kurt Russell & Westerns. I’d also heard a lot of good things about it. It’s a shame it only got a limited release though. It’ll probably fall into obscurity & I’ve no doubt it’ll end up being a cult film (it probably already is actually).
Anyhow, I had expectations. I was therefore surprised when the film wasn’t what I thought it was. Now, that’s not a bad thing. It’s a good thing. I liked the film. I expected more action & horror. There is action & there is a strong horror vibe to proceedings, but this film is a lot more character focused than I thought it would be.
The cast is great. The four main leads are all really good and they all play very different, interesting individuals. They all have their moments & it would be a disservice to any of them if I were to single out a single performance. So I won’t.
One thing I was surprised about was the amount of humour in the film. This is certainly not a comedy. It’s very serious, very grim & perhaps even harrowing at times. The loveable character played by Richard Jenkins provides some good comic relief. It’s not only funny material, its cleverly implemented into the film. Without it, the film would be boring in places & the tone of the film would be far too serious.
The film is paced pretty well. It doesn’t speed up or slow down at all. The problem, is that it is a slow film. It takes about 45mins for things to kick into gear & for the heroes’ quest to start & then, the majority of the film is about the journey they take rather than their goal. This is a really minor thing. I’d have just liked it to have been a bit quicker. One of the benefits of this, is that it allows for further character development scenes.
There is one scene I have to give credit to. I’m not going to spoil this scene nor am I going to attempt to describe any aspect of it. It has to be seen in the context of the film. I will however describe my reaction to it. WOW. That’s it. The scene in question is quite simply brutal. It’s gory & violent & I can’t get it out of my head. Now, when it comes to extreme gore & violence, that sort of stuff really doesn’t bother me. This did. I was actually quite disturbed by it. I’m not sure if it makes the film better or worse. In short, if you do not like gore or violence (of any variety), DO NOT watch this film. On reading this back, I might be exaggerating a bit (only a bit).
Overall, I really liked Bone Tomahawk. In many ways it’s a classic western. A group of men gather together to take on some villains. There’s not much in the way of plot. It’s also a very unique western partly due to its use of horror & gore. Thanks to some interesting characters played very well by a great cast, some good action, horror & humour, Bone Tomahawk is one of the best westerns in years.