CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 12A
  • Adventure, Western
  • 2013
  • 149 mins

The Lone Ranger

Film4

Synopsis

When his sheriff brother is killed by an outlaw, John Reid (Armie Hammer) vows to fight injustice as a masked man, with the help of disgraced Native American warrior Tonto (Johnny Depp).

About

You can imagine The Lone Ranger's inception meeting at Disney. "I want to make a blockbuster based on a pop-culture phenomenon from the 1930s," comes the pitch. "It's a Western… for kids!" Absolute silence. "I'll need a budget of around $250 million, and it's going to be two and a half hours long." Concerned faces all round. Some papers are shuffled. There is some giggling at the back. "Oh, and did I mention I'm Gore Verbinski, director of the unfathomably successful Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise?" A beat. "Where do you want your truck full of money parked, sir?" comes the studio's reply.

Tonally uneven and with a running time likely to leave little ones saddle sore, it's not difficult to see why audiences in the US left this Ranger well alone. In truth, The Lone Ranger is far from the disaster some critics have pegged it as: it's admirable in scale, features two charismatic leads in Depp and Armie Hammer, and climaxes with a joyous train heist sequence set to the rollicking sounds of Hans Zimmer's take on the William Tell Overture. The problem is you have to sit through two hours of dry, barren blockbuster to get your reward.

By now, Depp can pull off quirky characters like this in his sleep, but Pirates scribes Ted Elliot and Terry Rossio give Tonto the bulk of the back-story, if not the emotional range to make it matter. Hammer is far more lively as Reid, giving what could have been a bland leading role some much needed comedic edge. Frequently the pair detour to shoehorn in an unnecessary set-piece; Helena Bonham Carter's brothel madam is surplus to requirements, and her shtick – a gun hidden in a prosthetic leg – is no substitute for character. Like the Pirates sequels, The Lone Ranger is a movie in desperate need of tightening up – at a lean two hours it would feel like less of a slog.

Stick with it, through the countless flashbacks and framing devices and needless side-quests, and The Lone Ranger eventually endears due to its refusal to pander to the pocket-money crowd. It is unmistakeably a Western at heart and requires all the patience the genre demands. If nothing else, it is stunningly shot and stirringly scored. Destined to be remembered as a Disney misfire, don't make the mistake of lumping The Lone Ranger in with John Carter's lot; an odd, uncompromising film it may be, but it still manages to entertain in spite of itself.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, Johnny Depp
  • Director: Gore Verbinski
  • Writer: Terry Rossio, Ted Elliott, Justin Haythe
  • Producer: Gore Verbinski, Jerry Bruckheimer
  • Photographer: Bojan Bazelli
  • Composer: Hans Zimmer

In a nutshell

Settle in for a bumpy ride: The Lone Ranger is sporadically entertaining, frequently confounding and nothing less than spectacularly ill-conceived.

by Ali Gray

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Ex Machina

    Ex Machina

    Domnhall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander star in Alex Garland's directorial debut

  • Film4 Letter To Elia

    A Letter To Elia

    Martin Scorsese narrates and co-directs a documentary on the late filmmaker Elia Kazan

    On Film4: 20 Apr 2:50AM

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Four films announced for Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House 2014

    Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House celebrates its 10th anniversary this August with 14 nights of open-air screenings Celebrating ten years of classic, cult, and contemporary films in its open-ai

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Frank: a Twitter prequel

    Commissioning Executive Anna Higgs on creating a prequel to Lenny Abrahamson¿s Frank via the most natural storytelling medium possible for the character involved: Twitter The @JonBurroughs83 Twitter

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • Hullo, night owls! Coming up at 1.50am, we've got a Turkish delight for you: Nuri Bilge Ceylan's moving, award-winning drama Uzak.

  • "Vampires don't exist, Jake." 15 minute warning! At 11.40pm, it's 30 Days Of Night.

  • In an hour at 11.40pm, Josh Hartnett's facing off with Alaskan vampires in comic book horror film 30 Days Of Night.

  • World cinema fans! Our late-night highlight at 1.50am is Nuri Bilge Ceylan's beautifully shot Turkish drama Uzak: http://t.co/AAO6IL5c0R

  • RT @jonathan128k: “Peter Bradshaw: Uzak [on Film4 tonight] is one of the best movies of 2004, perhaps of many years" http://t.co/qYjJHdmZmY

Share