Bone Tomahawk ★★★★½

With 'Bone Tomahawk', S. Craig Zahler answers the question: 'How do you update the Italian Cannibal Cycle of Films for a contemporary audience?' by explicitly doing the opposite of that, acknowledging their ultimate debt to a previous cycle of films about the clash of imperial expansion and indigenous peoples, the 'Cowboy & Indian' film, and sensibly making a self-aware period piece out of this hybrid/not-hybrid genre apparatus set in (probably) the early 20th Century Western United States. This is not the only Kurt Russell Western in which he fights time-sensitive cannibal terror to free hostages (that would be 'Escape From ____'), but it is certainly the most awesome one made in the 21st Century. The way-excellent cast, including a truly incredible Richard Jenkins, work together as a panoramic ensemble to make an earned feeling of small-town cohesion seem both well-worn and organic. S. Craig Zahler knows what he is doing, having published pulp westerns and horror fiction for quite some time now, and also making his love for z-grade full-exploitation widely known and intimately interwoven into the body of his work as a writer and, now, director. In a world that would want to see really awesome movies that take into full the complete breadth and expanse and the deep, rich, past of their own historical operations, 'Bone Tomahawk' would not be released into a handful of theatres and VOD, but would be showing at every multiplex everywhere so this could be witnessed on the big screen by as wide and varied an audience as possible. With some slight alterations here or there, depending on budget/market/time-frame, this movie could belong to literally any era and/or any scale of film-making. 'Bone Tomahawk' is a movie I didn't want to end I enjoyed watching it so much. Due to cable nonsense, it stopped and started and I had to rewind/ffwd to find my place, but I didn't mind at all, rather, it was like being totally into a novel and being able to pick it up and put it down in order to fully immerse over and over. Highest Recommendation.

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