Bob Balaban's dark comic horror about a young boy suspecting his suburban parents to be cannibals
On Film4: 7 Dec 12:40AM
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).
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.
Settle in for a bumpy ride: The Lone Ranger is sporadically entertaining, frequently confounding and nothing less than spectacularly ill-conceived.
The follow-up to the UK¿s most successful comedy film of all time reunites the hapless Jay, Neil, Simon & Will in Australia. The Inbetweeners Movie 2 will start shooting in Australia on 7th Decemb
Film4 correspondent Simran Hans reports from the Underwire Festival, an annual celebration of short films by women... Underwire Festival (19-23 November) has just had its fourth birthday. Developed i
Film4.com looks over the best chases, fights, shootouts and stunts to grace the big screen and pick the 25 greatest ever action movie sequences.
Film4.com's pick of the best films that have made that toughest of transitions: from comic book page to the big screen
@Film4 RT @bangumi_uk: "Every decision has it's consequences" would neatly sum up Fish Story (2009), tonight 24:50 on @Film4 http://t.co/FK0Mun3DS…
@Film4 "Do I look like a man who came half-way across Europe to die on a bridge?" Coming up next at 9pm, Jason Statham stars in Transporter 3.
@Film4 Thanks for playing, folks! We'll be back tomorrow for more #advent trivia. Meanwhile... You can catch The Stath at 9pm in Transporter 3.
@Film4 @david_game28 Blimey!
@Film4 Other amazing Statham names: Quentin Conners (Chaos), Chev Chelios (Crank) and, let's not forget, Tybalt (Gnomeo & Juliet). #stathtrivia