Not rated. Time: 2:12.
On the list of things the world needs, a mashup of “The Searchers” and “Hannibal” is pretty far down there. But if there is going to be such a thing, the smartly cast and well-crafted “Bone Tomahawk” fills the bill nicely.
Kurt Russell is flinty Franklin Hunt, the sheriff of a small, sunburnt town on the edge of the Western frontier who leads a posse into hostile territory to rescue his deputy (Evan Jonigkeit), the town doctor (Lili Simmons) and a strange drifter (David Arquette) from the clutches of a tribe of renegade American Indians.
Now, this isn’t just any tribe but one that has turned into a clan of cave-dwelling cannibals called troglodytes. (Seemingly added to blunt charges of racism, an Indian character named the Professor arrives early on to explain that these guys are no longer Indian and are just evil.)
Rounding out Franklin’s group are John Brooder (Matthew Fox), a well-dressed sure-shot who likes neither Indians nor Mexicans; Chicory (Richard Jenkins), an awkward but wise “back-up deputy”; and the doctor’s square-jawed but hobbled husband, Arthur (Patrick Wilson), who has a broken leg from an unfortunate roofing accident.
Director/writer S. Craig Zahler, making his feature debut, is more concerned with the Western elements than the horror and, surprisingly, he avoids camp completely.
When the violence comes, it’s brutal, but much of the film’s far too leisurely 132-minute running time is devoted to this not-so-Wild-Bunch’s bonding on the trail, something that may make viewers in search of cinematic shock antsy.
Yet these actors, along with the script’s undertow of suspense and dark humor about Manifest Destiny and stereotypical Western tropes, make it work.
(At Alamo Drafthouse, Town Center.)
Fort Worth Star-Telegram