Film Review: The Lone Ranger (2013)

“Please don’t do this”

The lure of the Western has never really appealed to me and so though I have heard of The Lone Ranger, I would not be able to tell you that much about him. And I certainly wouldn’t have bothered watching his film but the casting of Ruth Wilson meant that that was going to be an inevitability. More’s the pity as I found to be an excruciatingly boring film but I’ve only myself to blame as central to the creative team were Gore Verbinski, Jerry Bruckheimer and Johnny Depp, responsible for the inexplicably successful Pirates of the Caribbean films, the latter two of which are horrendously bloated and dull – in my own opinion of course.

The main problem with The Lone Ranger though is the complete imbalance at the centre of it. It is never clear what type of film it is trying to be – a serious Western about blood and honour or an affectionate send-up of the genre, a conflict epitomised by Armie Hammer’s John Reid (who becomes the masked avenger after his brother’s heart gets eaten by a bad man) and Johnny Depp’s Tonto (a Native American spirit guide given to Yoda-isms and repeatedly touching the dead crow that lives on top of his head). Depp’s casting as the sidekick also throws the balance off, he’s frequently to be found at the centre of the shot, constantly pulling focus, not least in the ridiculously unnecessary framing device.

And his brand of eccentric charm feels a little misplaced here, never settling in an already seriously unsettled film. The wisecracking dialogue belongs to a more modern deconstructionist sensibility, the stunts are worthy of the biggest summer blockbusters, the story lies at the very heart of the wild West. Yet the film emerges as none of these three things. It is just a 2 hours 30 slog which is devoid of any real sense of fun at all. It didn’t excite me, thrill me, engage me or entertain me and crucially for something I didn’t like, it didn’t come anywhere near close to being ‘so bad it was good’ territory – it’s just dull. And thus I have nothing to say about Ruth Wilson aside from I hope it doesn’t linger too heavily on her CV.

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