Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)

(In theatres, April 2011) Second full feature to emerge from the Grindhouse trailers, Hobo with a Shotgun proudly embraces its exploitation raison d’être and delivers an old-fashioned schlocky action B-movie.  Shot in Nova Scotia (and partially financed with Canadian tax dollars), this conscious attempt to re-create violent movies from the eighties straddles a fine line between ironic comedy and earnest mayhem.  The title is the plot of the film, set in a city that recalls the worst paranoid fantasies about New York at its lowest point of urban decay: It’s useless to discuss narrative coherence in a film that’s not meant to have much of it.  Fortunately, the exploitation-movie tone is well-captured: While the film is extremely gory, the violence feels more absurdly ridiculous than disgusting –and considering that an element of the climax is a lead character stabbing a villain with the exposed bones of a maimed arm, that’s saying something.  In-between the overdone synth-heavy score, spitting melodrama, garish colors, buckets of blood, grainy pictures and ham-fisted sequences of gratuitous evil, it goes without saying that this film will appeal to a certain viewership: It takes a special kind of cinematographic literacy to enjoy the retro-VHS atmosphere that make up this film’s peculiar charm.  Rutger Hauer growls his way expertly in the title role, while the villains make faces at the camera and Molly Dunsworth does her job just looking cute.  The end could have used an epilogue, there are a few underwhelming sequences in the mix and it would have been nice if, like Machette, the film could have included some deeper social relevance, but otherwise, it’s hard to think of a recent film that achieves its aim as surely as Hobo with a Shotgun… even if those aims are far, far below those of respectable cinema.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *