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: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner, Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson
  • 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 The Iceman

    The Iceman

    Michael Shannon stars in the true story of the notorious hitman Richard 'The Iceman' Kuklinski, a violent individual with a plethora of secrets who was recruited by the mob

  • Film4 Milius

    Milius

    A documentary examining the life of filmmaker John Milius

    On Film4: 7 Apr 11:05PM

  • Film4 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

    Crime and Mystery Season on Film4

    Illegality and intrigue are the order of the day in Film4's Crime and Mystery Season.

  • Film4 Milius

    Milius on Film4

    Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Arnold Schwarzenegger and more discuss one of Hollywood's most notorious filmmakers in this documentary about John Milius on Film4

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House 2015

    Film4 Summer Screen returns to Somerset House from 6th to 19th August 2015... Over 14 nights this summer, Film4 Summer Screen stages London¿s best-loved outdoor cinema experiences under the stars w

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Dark Horse: Illustrated poster released

    A new illustrated poster has been released for Louise Osmond's award-winning inspirational documentary Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story Of Dream Alliance, designed by Brighton-based artist Rich

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • "They blew up my car and all you have to say is it's a damn shame?!" Up next at 12.10am, Nick Nolte & Eddie Murphy star in Another 48 Hrs.

  • @tweetawix ...which you can do right here: http://t.co/VPuUrE8DCY

  • @tweetawix It's likely we'll show it again. If you'd like us to send you a reminder next time, you could add it to a watchlist on our site.

  • @tweetawix I'm afraid that's the best slot we could find for it this time around! So many Ghiblis. We've shown it earlier before, though.

  • (aka Horus, Prince Of The Sun)

Share