Don't Believe the Hype, This One's a Stinker A Bone Tomahawk Review

Released by RLJ Entertainment

Release Date: October 22nd, 2015

Starring: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox

Written by S. Craig Zahler

Directed by S. Craig Zahler

Not Rated (Language and graphic violence)

Sometimes a movie will move. Sometimes a movie will excite you. Sometimes a movie will scare you. Bone Tomahawk is a movie that will bore you. I really did not like this movie. (I call it a “movie” because it was very clearly shot digitally.) Bone Tomahawk is a missed opportunity, one that could have lived on in the annuls of movie making history.

Bone Tomahawk tells the story of a frontier town, where life moves really slowly. A mysterious man comes to town and is soon jailed. During the night, the man, a female doctor, and a deputy are kidnapped by cannibals. Soon a posse is rounded up and they go searching for the kidnapped.

The movie stars Kurt Russell as he sheriff of the town. He has a second in command, played by the always interesting Richard Jenkins. We also have Patrick Wilson playing the husband off the kidnapped doctor. He is bedridden with a broken leg (a killer back then when medical practice was a lot cruder.),but as soon as he hears that his wife has been taken he is ready for whatever comes at him. Rounding out the posse is Matthew Fox, playing a rich man who helps because he likes the kidnapped doctor.

After a bit of a set-up, we ride off with the posse. For the next hour we are treated to scenes of the posse sitting in front of numerous fires at night. These scenes are supposed to allow us to get to know the characters, and they do, but do so in a fashion that we really don’t care about any of them. Any semblance of relation to these characters is done through the actors. We like these guys. We have grown up with Russell and have watched Wilson and Fox turn in some very good performances in film and tv. Jenkins is the highlight of the movie. He is loveable as the second in command. He is there to help and he does so in a very entertaining way.

Once the posse gets to the cannibal hideout, the movie picks up a bit. It is misdirection though. The posse is captured and we spend the last half hour with the cannibals. We see them kill a character in a very graphic way, but nothing else really happens. Sure, some of the posse is going to die and some of them may live, but the journey to get there is so dull and lifeless that we sit there in shock when the movie is over. Of course we were waiting for this, but we are shocked because the journey was so long.

The movie was written and directed by S Craig Zahler, who had been shopping this script around since 2007. I can see why now. Zahler shoots his movie digitally and it shows. The image is flat, with no depth. This is not how anyone would shoot a western. There should be grand vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. Most of this movie is shot with the background out of focus which makes the movie look like a made-for-tv movie. In fact, I have seen some tv shows that look better than this movie does. This is also the first movie that Zahler has directed, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for a bland looking western.

The horror elements are very few and far between. Whenever someone would talk about this movie they would go on and on about how graphic the movie is and how scary it is. I found one scene to be graphic, but nothing more than what we have seen in real horror movies. I also was not scared in the least. The movie builds up to the cannibals, but when everything is finally revealed, it lands with a thud.

The acting is good, but the actors are not really given anything to do. They talk a lot, but it is mostly about moving the plot forward. Something happens, it is dealt with, and then the characters talk about it. Rinse and repeat and you have just seen Bone Tomahawk But don’t see Bone Tomahawk It is really a bad movie.

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