Kurt Russell seems to be enjoying quite a resurgence in popularity lately. Between 2007 and 2015 Russell only made a couple of small films, but with a small but pivotal role in 2015’s Furious 7, he seemed to be back on the map. This year he has starred in two high profile films and both are western’s. Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and this week’s release Bone Tomahawk. And up next he stars in a new Peter Berg thriller/drama Deepwater Horizon with Mark Wahlberg and is rumored to be in the upcoming sequel to the smash Marvel hit Guardians of the Galaxy. And while The Hateful Eight turned out to be my least favorite Tarantino film ever, Bone Tomahawk is another story altogether.
Russell plays Sheriff Hunt, a no nonsense lawman in a small town called Bright Hope in the 1890’s. When a man named Purvis (David Arquette) comes into town and can’t account for some mysterious behavior, Hunt wounds him after he tries to run off. Now in the town jail, Purvis’ wound is tended to by local nurse Samantha O’Dwyer (Lili Simmons). But during the night, a mysterious band of native cannibals abducts Purvis, Samantha and a deputy. When Hunt learns of the incident, he puts together a group consisting of an older deputy (Richard Jenkins), Samantha’s husband (Patrick Wilson) and a wealthy local man named Brooder (Matthew Fox) to set out into the hostile Indian territory to bring back their people.
Bone Tomahawk is a few movies wrapped up in one. It is definitely a western just based on time and place. It is a dialogue driven drama that is beautifully written. It is a thriller and action film based on the group’s encounters during their journey, and lastly it is most certainly a horror film when they finally encounter the natives. The cast is one of the best I have seen assembled in quite some time and although Russell is the top billed name, Patrick Wilson’s character of Arthur O’Dwyer is the heart of the movie and really the one who the story hinges on. And Wilson is just fantastic. He has rise quickly to become one of my favorite actors working today and takes on a wide variety of interesting roles, all of which he knocks out of the park. This is the debut of director and writer S. Craig Zahler and he is definitely going to be a name that studios are going to take notice of. The script is wonderfully written and thrilling and his direction is bold and confident with some spectacular visuals. For fans of westerns, thrillers, dramas or horrors, Bone Tomahawk has something for everyone and is highly recommended.
Available now in the U.S., available February 9 in Canada.