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What We Know So Far: In the American Old West, a man’s wife is kidnapped, sending a sheriff her husband and two others out to find her, encountering a violent tribe of native cannibals.
Bone Tomahawk (Trailer will open in new window)
Dan: This could be the year of the Western, as Bone Tomahawk is one of several high profile indie releases like Michael Fassbender’s Slow West and Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. Atmospheric visuals give a palatable sense of the sparse and choked desert. Thematic elements may also be at work suggesting man’s true nature. Writer/director S. Craig Zahler is notorious in the screenwriting world for his impeccable Black List (best unproduced works) screenplay The Brigands of Rattleborge (which Oldboy’s Park Chan Wook was set to direct at one time). This legendary project has been buzzed about for nearly a decade, but caught in development hell. Looks like Zahler learned from his introduction to Hollywood and negotiated to direct his next script – this cannibalistic Western starring Kurt Russell. The premise is simple, but the execution is provocative. This thrilling character piece looks like a good old fashioned story that won’t pull any punches. I’ve been anticipating something from Zahler for years. The wait is over this month, when Tomahawk premieres in theaters and on demand October 23rd.
David: Directed by S. Craig Zahler, this ostensibly Western genre thriller looks to be more of a horror film than a Cowboy adventure. With Kurt Russell looking like a much older and weathered version of his own Wyatt Earp, he seems the right choice to play a no-nonsense sheriff caught up in something bigger than he can handle. The excessive gore might be a turn off, as the trailer only hints at what’s to come, including a terrifying moment at the end involving Russell, his mouth, and a spike. But there is also a kean sense of atmosphere with a grungey, smokey look that gives the trailer a great aesthetic. With Russell already making a dramatic Western impact in the upcoming The Hateful Eight, he looks to be having a good spin in the new up-surge in the genre. Fingers-crossed for this one.
Dan Says: The trailer is very deliberately paced, taking its time to set up the story. This sneak preview arcs much like a 3-Act feature. By the third act, the action really ramps up. This bleak Western aims its sights on realism. The violence looks brutally honest and matter-of-fact, impending like a rainstorm. My Sneak Peek Moment is near the end of the trailer. Kurt Russell’s character is attacked by a member of some cannibalistic tribe. We never see the indigenous(?) antagonist. For now, Zahler teases us with this reveal. What we do know is how brutal this native tribe can be. In a truly shocking Moment, the cannibal shoves a bone down Russell’s throat. It makes you cringe on the edge of your seat. This simple physical threat is oddly more empathetic than a gunshot or knife wound. We really feel it. Just enough is shown to suggest the violence and pain before Zahler cuts away. I don’t know how Russell will get out of this dire situation, but I can’t wait to find out.
David Say: Gotta be Matthew Fox. The Sneak Peek Moment comes midway through the trailer, as the four men are camped out by a night fire when a stranger approaches the group. The man says he is a friend, but John Brooder (Fox) isn’t having any of it and empties his pistol into him, causing Sheriff Hunt to draw on him and berate him for his seemingly unjustified actions. With the two men staring each other down, Brooder tell hims that if wants to question his morals, he should do it later. I love this little moment simply because it reveals the only real humor in the trailer, or at least the hint of it as Fox looks nearly unrecognizable in his slippery moustache and slicked back hair. Say what you will about Fox, I find him to be a great actor who deserves far better roles and while this is surely a supporting bit, he looks to be the most colorful character and the one with the most potential for some fun in this dark story.