We are finally digging into our own movie collection and watching films that have remained unwatched for too long. We are slowly going to start tackling this pile in between Netflix and the random cheap rentals. Its been a little while since I saw these two movies and the pairing is kind of an odd double feature but still, I’ve heard great things for both films.
Let’s check it out!
BONE TOMAHAWK (2015)
Director (and writer): S. Craig Zahler
Cast: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox, Richard Jenkins, Lili Simmons, David Arquette
In the dying days of the old west, an elderly sheriff and his posse set out to rescue their town’s doctor from cannibalistic cave dwellers. – IMDB
Part Western, part psychological thriller, part horror; Bone Tomahawk is a mix genre that uses a setting to propel its story forward. Its slow-paced and intriguing, keeping it mysterious and suspenseful as well. At the same time, there is an underlying feeling of danger in the vastness of the desert that it takes place in the majority of the time as the sheriff and his crew traverse to encounter an unknown group of enemies. While the enemies in question are different, its hard to not compare a bit of the story to the likes of The Burrowers (review), which is also a Western set film except faced with mysterious creatures than cannibalistic cave dwellers. It had a lot of the similar elements from the prejudice towards the Indians and the whole trek to do find something and the missing persons sort of deal but Bone Tomahawk is executed much better. To be honest, who these cave dwellers are is the main suspense so maybe the description itself has already broken a bit of the intrigue the film wants to deliver. Maybe…I don’t know…Its always the issue of how much is too much is said when we look specifically at psychological horror films.
One of the best elements of the film, especially when looking at psychological thrillers are the characters involved. In their own quiet way, each of them add a little something to balance out the dynamic and competency of the group. If you just look at the cast, you can see that it is a really strong cast. The main group on this rescue comprised of Kurt Russell’s Sheriff Hunt, his elderly deputy played by Richard Jenkins, injured rancher Arthur whose wife was taken played by Patrick Wilson and a gunslinger played by Matthew Fox. Its because of the focus on each of these characters in their own extent and having their own place that make them each stand out in their own manner and feel like they belong to where they were especially in a journey that approaches danger. Talking about danger, the cave dwellers are done fantastically. They are brutal and intense.
Bone Tomahawk is one of those films that is executed really well because of the atmosphere and the setting and that meshes well with the story told here. The characters and all those elements boost it high but it does have the Western slow-paced which might make it a bit harder to get into at first as it builds up its story, mystery and characters.
Director: Pete Travis
Cast: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Tamer Burjaq, Warrick Grier, Wood Harris, Rakie Ayola, Jason Cope, Domhnall Gleeson
In a violent, futuristic city where the police have the authority to act as judge, jury and executioner, a cop teams with a trainee to take down a gang that deals the reality-altering drug, SLO-MO. – IMDB
I’ve never seen the original Judge Dredd or anything along those lines so this is a completely new experience of the world and the character itself. I’m not a huge fan of people doing the whole Christian Bale’s Batman low-tone voice. I don’t find that more empowering to the character or make them stronger, so suffice to say that took a little getting used to for me. However, setting all that aside, Dredd is a really fun time. Seeing as it was released after The Raid: Redemption, it easy to compare the similar concept of fighting up a tower to the ultimate boss. There are thugs and obstacles in the way. Within the heights of one building, it managed to create a lot of layers. These layers dive into learning more about the world created here and living standards, the life-altering drug SLO-MO and its effects, the big boss ruling the society of this building, as well as our main cop characters, Dredd and his trainee Anderson.
Suffice to say that Dredd and Anderson do bring a lot of the action and cleverness to the film. Their characters bond over the course of the film even in their differences and through learning from each other. Anderson is different because of her psychic abilities that allow her to mind control a little. It adds to their journey but also at times has its hindrances. As great as it is to learn about these two, Lena Headey appears in Dredd as the big bad villain, Ma-Ma, a fierce woman boss of this building who is brutal and unforgiving. She keeps her anger hidden under a calm appearance..most of the time and there is this deadly and unsettling vibe to her throughout because she retains a lot of the mystery as how she became who she is now. Lena Headey always seems to be found in these movies here and there, really bringing in some intriguing characters to say the least. Perhaps someone to visit and revisit her roles, especially after her success as Game of Thrones, Cersei Lancaster.
Dredd is a pleasant surprise and exceeded my expectations. Its set in an intriguing, if not more dangerous and gloomy futuristic world. At the same time, it was also great to see another beginning role of Domhnall Gleeson as the Clan Techie here which has a small role but a fairly entertaining one to watch.
That’s it for this double feature!
Have you seen Bone Tomahawk and/or Dredd? What are your thoughts?