Sunday, July 7, 2013

Movies: The Lone Ranger

(Drivebycuriosity) - The history of the U.S. can be told in many different ways. The movie "The Lone Ranger" offers a very special view how the "West" was tapped (imdb). It is a surrealistic Western movie and describes a kind of an alternative history. Maybe it is a Western movie set in a parallel universe that is close to ours but not really. There are some events possible there which aren´t here. And some things are different and weird, like rabbits, horses and crows.

But "Lone Ranger" also deals with some of the dark parts of U.S. history in our universe. According to the script the construction of the railway connection between North America`s East and West was controlled  by crooks and murderers who were supported by corrupt army officers. The movie also deals with the fact that the native Americans, pathetically called Indians (like the citizen of India thousand of miles away), got cheated, murdered and deprived of their land, their rights and their existence. There is also a reminiscence of the Chinese workers, who really built the railroad connection that ignited the glorious rise of the U.S. economy.

But all this got packed into a lot of furious action scenes with funny and hilarious events. The film is soaked with slapstick and shined with ludicrous ideas that reminded me of the early MGM cartoons like Tom & Jerry.

The most enjoyable part of the movie is the gorgeous cinematography. Director Gore Verbinski, cinematographer Bojan Bazelli and the digital engineers of "Industrial Light & Magic" (founded by George Lucas)  created fascinated tableaus of the "Wild West".  The awesome dessert landscapes  
 of New Mexico and Utah played an important role, including locations like the "Arches National Park" and the "Canyonlands National Park". You also could fall in love with those gorgeous trains that played a crucial role. The movie is an homage to John Ford's great Western movies, the so-called "Spaghetti Westerns" by Sergio Leone & Clint Eastwood, from "Little Big Man" (Dustin Hoffman) to Buster Keaton`s "The General," and even to classics like  "The Bridge on the River Kwai".

I was fascinated by the character of Tonto, a native American from the nation of Comanches with spiritual ambitions (shaman). According to IMDb the role was played by Jonny Depp. I have to believe that, but the actor was  unrecognizable thanks to the heavy make-up. His appearance -  with a crow constantly on his head (I am nor sure if it was dead or alive) - was priceless. This character was borrowed from the movie "Dead Man" by Jim Jarmusch, where a character named William Blake (also called "dead man", played by Jonny Depp) is accompanied by a spiritual American native, named "Nobody".  "Lone Ranger`s" Tonto divulged this "Nobody´s" philosophies about the world and the relationship between the "White Men" and the "Indians" giving the audience a lot to think about.

Armie Hammer was a passable "Lone Ranger", a lawyer who is a bit lost in the "Wild West", and displayed his comical talents. William Fichtner as a creepy villain  and Tom Wilkinson as a scrupulous railroad pioneer were also remarkable. The females (Helena Bonham Carter, Ruth Wilson) stood in the shade of the male heroes & villains as usual in Western movies.

"Lone Ranger" served 149 minutes of fun. I agree with Mark Hughes of Forbes magazine who commented, " it's about a hundred times better than you think it is. It’s a wonderful movie." (forbes). Well said!

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