Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hobo with a Shotgun

The name alone would have been enough to interest me in this movie. Add Rutger Hauer as the lead and online trailers that promised violent strangeness, and I knew I had to go if it ever came to town. Amazingly, it did, so earlier tonight a group of us went to the lovely Carolina Theatre to check out the very odd cinematic offering.

Hours later, I still haven't decided how I feel about Hobo with a Shotgun.

It begins with a color-saturated Technicolor look that is just amazing. We then see close-ups of Hauer's face, who looks like he died seven years ago and no one thought to tell him. The huge amount of wear and tear on his face serves to make his blue eyes even more vivid than usual.

Once he gets off the train, however, the violence starts. Hobo with a Shotgun is easily the most violent, over-the-top, blood-soaked, seeking-to-offend, non-Japanese film I have seen in years, maybe ever. A few samples: A head torn off by a car pulling on a barb-wire noose. Beating bums to bloody pulp while laughing and filming. A twisted Santa speeding away with a kidnapped child in the back seat. Beating hookers.

All of that happens in a five-minute span in the beginning, while the film is still stretching its violence muscles.

Later, it gets far, far worse, often going farther than I would have believed any filmmaker would go. Example: Two bad-guy brothers, one of whom is carrying a flamethrower, enter a school bus full of children and turn all the kids into charred skeletons.

I could go on, but that's plenty.

The audience reactions varied wildly. For example, two women in our group embraced the over-the-top spirit and hooted and hollered through the entire blood-splattered film. Two others left early, unwilling to take any more. Everyone winced from time to time.

Hobo with a Shotgun is something Roger Corman might have made if you had removed all the rules he had to obey, cranked him up on crystal meth, killed his family in front of him, and then handed him Rutger Hauer, a shotgun, the men who killed his family, and a camera.

When I stood to leave, I was amazed at how far the film had gone in so many violent directions, liked that in some ways and hated it in others, and ultimately felt uneasy about the movie. I still do.

One thing is certain: Do not go to this movie if you are not prepared to see violence beyond the limits of what even most Japanese ultraviolent film directors will produce.


Todd said...

See Super 8. The train wreck is an 11 out of 10 for awesome explosions for the sake of explosions.

Mark said...

I hope to see it Friday night!

Dan Campbell said...

Any chance you've seen 'Rubber'? It showed up on TW OnDemand at the same time as 'Hobo'. I follow your movie reviews avidly (Machete was fabulous, and your review convinced me to watch it), so I'm curious what you would make of 'Rubber'. Needless to say, I'm glad I read your review of 'Hobo', rather than watching it...

Mark said...

I have not, but now I will have to check it out.

Dan Campbell said...

I believe this would be the shortest summary of the film: "Sentient tire goes on killing spree, explodes heads; mayhem ensues." ;-)

Mark said...

Yup. Just ordered it.

Todd said...

You haven't seen Super 8 yet! :-o

Mark said...

I have, but due to a bunch of other stuff lined up, my blog entry on it won't appear for a bit. Advance hint: I loved it.


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