Hey, when our own food supply is contingent on patent ecological unsustainability, the brutalization of millions of slave laborers, and the mass torture of billions of defenseless animals, who the heck are we to judge what "ethical consumption" really means? Today, we dig into Bone Tomahawk, Quest For Fire, and The Green Inferno.
BONE TOMAHAWK (2015)
When two bandits blunder into the territory of an unnamed, heretofore-unknown tribe of Indians not too far from the frontier settlement of Bright Hope, only one (David Arquette) comes out alive. Making his way to town after his ordeal, it's about two minutes before he runs afoul of Sheriff Franklin Hunt (Kurt Russell) and his aged deputy Chicory (Richard Jenkins) and gets half his leg blown off. That's how the local medicine woman Samantha (Lili Simmons) happens to be at the jail that night when the Indians track their enemy down; naturally, they seize both. Thus the sheriff, his deputy, the woman's husband, Arthur (Patrick Wilson), and the Indian-killing fop Brooder (Matthew Fox) embark on a mission of rescue. Their journey is long, and arduous, and longer and more arduous still thanks to Arthur's broken leg and the random encounters generated by writer-director S. Craig Zahler's twenty-sided plot dice. Ultimately, however, the four doomed men find what they're looking for, and the fate in store for them is more horrific than they ever could have anticipated.
It probably ought to be a spoiler, though obviously it isn't, to say, "They're cannibals." This is the selling point of Bone Tomahawk, as well as its Achilles' heel: it is a movie, written and produced in 2015, about a bunch of white guys following the trail of a bunch of red guys who turn out to eat white guys, and thus need to be eradicated with all the force the white race can bring to bear upon them. But Tomahawk takes some of the edge off with a helpful token Lakota professor played by Zahn Mcclaron, who has the thankless role of explaining why nobody ought to get mad. These Indians, says he, are better described as "troglodytes," and they're sure as hell not part of any tribe that he recognizes. The real shame of it is, that despite being onscreen for just a couple of minutes, Mcclaron occupies the screen with a sufficient force—particularly as he pushes back against the arch-racist Brooder—that you kind of wish that he had accompanied the gunslingers on their quest, and maybe even that Tomahawk had more of a point beyond, "We wanted to do a Western with cannibals." But, you know, there turns out to be an awful lot of wisdom in the Professor's refusal of the Sheriff's invitation. So perhaps the point is that Indians are smarter than us white folk.