Bone Tomahawk: Bloodthirsty Neo Western with a message

Don´t be a hero, be like Arthur

This is why Frontier Life is so difficult. Not because of the Indians, or the elements, but because of the idiots.

Samantha (Lilli Simmons), Bone Tomahawk

With ongoing crises on the way, from Corona to climate, to financial, to housing, to wars, it is hard to find something to hold onto. How can we tackle all this? How can we manage to survive this madness?
Craig Zahler’s, neo-western Bone Tomahawk is trying to give an answer.

Starring Kurt Russel and Patrick Wilson, it is not only a masterpiece of genre cinema but also an intelligent description of what made humanity so victorious among other species.


Arthur ( Patrick Wilson) is hurt since he fell from a roof and is sitting at home with a broken leg. As a drifter strolls into town and gets shot by sheriff Hunt (Kurt Russel), Arthurs wife Samantha (Lilli Simmons) is called to look after the wounded due to her nursing skills.
Eventually, the drifter was tracked by a group of wild cavemen so Samantha, deputy Nick (Evan Jonigkeit), and the drifter get kidnapped.
As the town finds out about their missing, a search group rides of for their rescue. Arthur, in spite of his hurt leg, accompanies the group which consists of sheriff Hunt, Mr. Chicory (Richard Jenkins), and Mr. Brooder ( Matthew Fox). The last one is a self-appointed Indian slayer.
As they find the tribe, situated in a cave out in a lost valley, the group in Bone Tomahawk faces a greater horror than they would have ever expected.

Genre Western for 2/3 of the time

The first two-thirds of Bone Tomahawk unfold calmly and slowly. Cameraman Benji Bakshi and director Craig Zahler are able to let the story and the characters unfold without interfering. Most of the time it looks more like a wild west documentary, than a movie. While the group progresses we endure the painful trip that Arthur has to walk to get Samantha back. Since his leg is enormously injured from a storm he is a burden to the rescue team.
But since Samantha is his wife they accept him, not without joking about his immobility.

The quote from the beginning of this article appears when what´s left of the troop gets captured by the caveman-like Indians.
It is Samantha who says these words and lays her finger in the wound of not only this but many male-dominated movies.

Being a hero is something held so valuable that it justifies any sacrifice. Think about the stupidity of Eddy in Stranger Things Vol. 4 as he draws away the demon-bats, just to be eaten on the spot.

The stupidity of heroes

But in Bone tomahawk, our hero is not the one, riding in with the cavalry. He is not hitting it off with great puns, or even hitting at all.
He is so injured, that he can barely move. This forces him to look for a different approach than the one healthy troop has tried.
Instead of crawling straight through the cavemen’s valley entrance, he finds a way to circle that narrow passage, giving him high ground against his opponents.

The captured ones can tell Arthur how many of the cavemen inhabit this cave. In the end, he is able to kill the bad guys and rescue his wife, not because he is strong and heroic, but because he uses a men-given present.
His brain.


Looking back on our own reality and all the crises we are facing there are things to learn from Bone Tomahawk.
It is not the time to give up and run away. It is not the time to strive forward, without thinking. And is for sure, not the time to cling to old habits and structures and hope, that everything will get better, as long as we keep going in the same direction.

In the face of an overwhelming and overpowering problem we can only succeed if we stick together, listen to one another’s thoughts and fears and use our given intellect and intelligence.

Bone Tomahawk can be streamed on Amazon prime.

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