April 18, 2011

Review - Hobo with a Shotgun

Directed by Jason Eisener, written by John Davies, and filmed with a crazy palette of super-saturated colors, this down-and-dirty (sure to be one of the top cult movies from 2011) is a non-stop, over-the-top, intentionally ridiculous visual feast of bloodshed and violence that evolves into pure 100% fun... I highly recommend it.


Eisener throws you from laughter into screams, with his newest creation Hobo with a Shotgun which is an excellent follow up to his popular Sundance short Treevenge, which was a hilariously horrific look at Christmas trees (I had showcased the film two years ago here, long before I knew who Eisener was). Cinematographer Karim Hussain, costume designer Sarah Dunsworth and production designer Ewen Dickson collaborate to give the film's Nova Scotia locations a unique look, and the whole thing plays like a tribute to the star himself. Rutger Hauer and films like The Hitcher, Flesh+Blood, Wanted:  Dead or Alive, seem to be acclaimed and worshiped through the very making of this movie, and of course Hauer does a fantastic job playing the Hobo who's out to wage this brutal solo war in a city ravaged by crime and depravity.


This film reminded me of such classics as "The Warriors" and "Class of 1984", there's been plenty of filmmakers in recent years that have attempted to capture that style and atmosphere, but few have been able to do it as well as "Hobo with a Shotgun". It has some of that Roger Corman spirit to it, paying a fantastic homage to the grimy drive-in B-flicks of the '70s.

I enjoyed this movie a lot, but I am incredibly biased, since it was shot here in my town of Halifax/Dartmouth. I would see the recognizable Nova Scotia backdrtop in nearly every shot. It has a few familiar Canadian faces like Robb Wells and George Strombolopolous to name a few. But as some of you may know, ALL Canadian films (and television) have a certain"look" about them, a look that many Canadians often shudder to witness - THIS movie has none of that.


As crude and violent as some may think this film to be, this is probably the most fan-friendly movie to ever come out of Canada, and it delivers on its genre promises. This film is certainly the best trash-cinema/drive-in throwback genre movie to ever be made in Canada (to my knowledge). And most likely the best post-apocalyptic/action movie to come out of Nova Scotia since Def Con 4... HA!

I must mention the end credits song; Lisa Lougheed's 1988 "Run With Us". I remember this track playing for the closing credits of each episode of The Raccoons animated series, it's haunting theme stills sends chills up my spine.

The film is available On-Demand in US (http://www.magpictures.com/ondemand
Make sure to check it out!

Why is the movie so good?
Rutger Hauer's performance (as always) is fantastic, he plays the whole
thing with deadly seriousness.
The music and sound oozes of early 80s slasher films.
The lighting is high contrast and soaked with bright colors.
The production design and location work gives you a
good sense of the post-apocalyptic world we find ourselves in.
The actors are appropriately cast and fit in their roles quite well.
Props and costumes are perfect for the genre.
The FX and the gore are fitting and plentiful.
Story structure and character development are simple but well thought out.
Eisener recreates the 70s/80s exploitation film style with an impressive
attention to detail, and giving us a great grindhouse cinema experience.

Suffice it to say, I'm looking forward to whatever Jason Eisener does next. I still wish I could get my hands on that awesome Hobo poster. Here's an excerpt of an article from our local paper: 
With the buzz coming off of Sundance, Eisener has received the inevitable job offer from Hollywood to do a horror remake. "I turned it down," he says. Though he acknowledges the money was good, he doesn't want to spend two years on something where his heart isn't in it. "No amount of money is worth that." Besides, the script for the next movie is already being written and Fichman is on board again to help get it made. "It's going to be a high school martial arts movie," says Eisener, gleefully.  Source: The Coast

Bonus: Check out this Fangoria interview with the director.


Anonymous said...

Don't forget the fan-friendly Canadian classic "Scanners!"

Ron said...

You're right! I forgot about that one!