Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk ★★★★½

Zahler is the man. There may be a legitimate beef in his work that his writing can be slow-moving and overly patient. Also, he may be in love with his own words to the point that as a director he may not know when to prune vestigial scenes or moments from his final product. However, his dialog and character work are truly taken to a special depth. Kurt Russell, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins, and Patrick Wilson all embark on an expedition to save two abducted locals. Zahler spends a ton of time getting to the actual abduction and then a ton of time getting his posse to location of the rescue. All that time--all that journey--is spent with his characters talking and discussing. But damn if they aren't interesting to listen to. Jenkins the elderly deputy, Russell the sheriff, Fox the dandy bachelor, and Wilson the injured cowboy. Their dialog is richly detailed and extensively written in consideration of the era and conditions where the characters reside. There is no air of sameness among these cowboys--they are all very unique characters with specific characters and motivations.

A lot is made of BONE TOMAHAWK's nasty violence--and it certainly is unnerving. I would suggest that audiences who invested in the characters along the way will be adequately horrified in the events of the final act. Zahler loves his violence, but he's not in love with it--not the way that he's in love with writing these characters. The violence adds a nasty, unique flavour to Zahler's film (and his work), but what he's done here is provide very special characters in a modern western classic.

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