Monday, July 18, 2011

hobo with a shotgun [2011]

how i love summer movies! this little peccadillo is so redolent of mom&pop video shops where i'd peruse the selections of vhs tapes and take them home solely because the box cover art and the title of the film are totally gnarly that i can smell the popcorn machine that was often situated on the front counter of almost every '80s rental shop.

ah, thems were the days, oh yeah. you might have heard of this flick. i picked up my copy a couple weeks ago at target so this is not some rare cult film but an homage to those '80s video nasties that kids like me salivated over. canadian filmmaker jason eisener created a fake trailer for the grindhouse competition quentin tarantino and robert rodriguez did in support of their two-pronged features that were in themselves homages to neo-b flicks of yesteryear. eisener won the competition and a few years later got the funding to stretch his trailer into a full-length film.

essentially a vigilante justice movie rutger hauer stars as the eponymous hobo who rides the rails into scumtown. the town is ruled by a psycho called drake and his two idiot sons who inflect lots of bloodshed and mayhem to keep the denizens of scumtown in fear. eisener wastes little effort in the gore department and the atrocities rock like an extended solo by jimmy page. hauer takes the hoods of the town and drake to school with his shotgun. hauer is also befriended by a young woman named abby whom he saves from one of the two idiot sons.

crisply edited and lighted in day-glo reds, oranges, blues while smudging in more than a bit of greys and blacks to keep the contrasts sharp. it is a fun little flick that doesn't take itself very seriously and will have you, if you have a strong stomach, laughing at the gags. this is a movie-lover's kind of film that keeps its wits just above the surface and wouldn't know irony if it bled into eisener's coffee cup. just as well. since i couldn't imagine the tone any different. if eisener wanted to make a hard-rocking study of psychopathology he'll have to angle for the funding for that feature. rather, the director made a movie you could imagine finding at the mom&pop video shop, not expecting much, and discover that you've stumbled upon a hidden treasure. eisener sure seems to be that kid when the era of vhs video nasties is almost like a gilded age. so much so that this movie appears to be set in the 1980s from the decor, the technology and the music on the soundtrack. hauer is as always magnificent and it is wonderful to see him in this film. a nice little bit of summer stock.


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