By Shane Scott-Travis
“A tense, absorbing pursuit Western that turns into a Grand Guignol gorefest, Bone Tomahawk is what you might get if you crossbred The Searchers with The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, or maybe Cannibal Holocaust… There’s an elegance to Bone Tomahawk that doesn’t let up even when it veers into cult-movie territory.”
– Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine
Blood on the tracks
Fearlessly and ferociously exploring believed abstractions of both American history and Western identity amidst the mercurial borderlands between blasphemy and faith, barbarity and betterment, misdeeds and justice, is Bone Tomahawk, the impressive and unflinching feature film debut of writer/director S. Craig Zahler.
Sure, there have been horse operas before this one that have treaded over similar stomping grounds, revisionist Westerns with more on their minds than just formulaic lawmen and shrewd commentary on Manifest Destiny, and Zahler, in the the film’s first act at any rate, offers up an 1890s frontier of familiar terrain––John Ford’s The Searchers (1956) comes immediately to mind––before running a dark detour through a thoroughfare of injury-addled circumstance, barbed with jet black humor and infused with full-on horror.
“Riders coming in one way, and savages the other,” spits Buddy (Sid Haig) to Purvis (David Arquette), his grimy, murderous, lowlife cohort. The pair of bandits have, in Bone Tomahawk’s opening prologue, robbed and rubbed out some unfortunate voyagers before recklessly stumbling into a a Native American burial site nestled in the ominous hills. They’ve unknowingly entered forbidden ground, at the crux of civility and savagery, and something far more cruel than even they.
After ignorantly desecrating an enshrined burial ground the wheel of karma spins around on Buddy and Purvis, crushing them in the spokes as umbral and aggressive figures descend upon the ill-starred pair.
“I’m a fan of Westerns, and [Bone Tomahawk] is the fifth western that I’ve written… So I
From:: Taste Of Cinema