Bone Tomahawk ★★★★½

89/100

Shrieks, moans, wails, and spurts of blood; all woven within an Artificial evocation of a savage world. A Western finally goes full on-Digital Michael Mann, and Bone Tomahawk, instead of reaching for a product of grand ambition, scales down into a work of formal beauty and foggy spaces. It's a film pattered with details, sounds, and silences after startling bursts of violence, but moment to moment, it's elegantly contemplative. Bells are only a warning for the gunshots that soon follow, and instead of lingering on a wounded horse, Zahler frames every character in a state of stoic respect. Mannequins in the Old West, soaking in their situation and trying not to lose each other in the mist.

It's undeniably strange, but for a film so meticulously staged in its handheld mashups, I was surprised by the delicate humanity manifested through Chicory's (played by Richard Jenkins, who is the MVP out of a stellar cast, but when is he not? ) tangents, Brooder's idiosyncrasies, and Sheriff's heartbreaking words of wisdom. Every cast member, supported by a stellar screenplay, adds to the overwhelming whole of a Western that lives and breathes on its own life-force. This is no influence-driven genre factory, but a stunning display of people barely avoiding a tumble into the collapsing void of depravity.

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