Thursday 25 August 2011

Review: Hobo with a shotgun

Year: 2011
Director: Jason Eisener
Screenplay: John Davies, Jason Eisener
Starring: Rutger Hauer

Synopsis is here (as if the film needs it)

Hobo with a shotgun delivers what it says it delivers. To knock the film technically is almost silly and there will be many out there who have not seen any kind of exploitation feature asking themselves; "what kind of screw loose would even try to enjoy a film like this". To them I will say "hey at least it's short."

I liked Hobo for what it was; extremely OTT nonsense, it's shot with knowledge of those gritty shlock features and yet still has a certain amount of flair in the cinematography that defies some of the films it's paying homage to. It isn't a deconstruction like Deathproof, nor is it following the genre as close to the bone as Planet terror, but there's something about it's cartoony madness that works well enough to be although you may want to wash the nihilism of you.

I think one of the main reasons that I like the film is that it almost plays out like an antithesis to films like Harry Brown, a film which celebrates the idea of vigilantism as completely fine and worthy idea. Hobo, like a florescent Taxi Driver depicts the whole situation as the horrid and vile mess it actually is. Nobody gets away clean no matter what your intentions are. I won't lie however by saying my viewing of this reminded me of the films of one Michael Haneke. And yet despite my love for his essays on the west glorifying violence (something many could say this film does at times) the films lead character, his dreams and the outcome still managed to sway me not only as entertaining (the violence is SO out there one can't take seriously) but strangely affecting due to what happens. I won't lie, I knew where the film was going and yet when it reached it's destination I wasn't as disappointed as i would be with many other more mainstream affair. Mostly because it's outcome comes off more as a trope than lazy writing.

That aside I liked the nuttiness of it all; the silly dialogue, the over the top sleaze used to portray the despicable of it all, the wonderfully garish colour scheme that felt right at home with the material and of course, Rutgar Huaers ability to hold a viewers attention with his presence.

I wlll say however, for a film that healthy acknowledges that it's an exploitation flick and is made now in the 21 century, why is it that Hobo with a shotgun couldn't have made it's female lead a stronger one? I'm not looking for role models but Molly Dunsworth's Abby starts off as a streetwise prostitute before decending very quickly into a screaming damsel in distress who can't seem to function with her Hobo hero. Considering that some of the most well known exploitations have very strong female characters (Day of the woman/I spit on your grave, nearly anything Pam Grier was in in the 70's, slasher movies in general) you get the feeling the film missed a trick.

But then again, has it? It's called Hobo with a shotgun, and has a Hobo with a shotgun. He puts it to great use. This isn't the sort of film that gives you a title with a metaphor or has any alterer motive. It does what it says it does. If your arguing about it, you really should have paid closer attention to the title.