Reviewer: James van Maanen
Rating (out of 5): *-½
Hobo with a Shotgun is this year's Human Centipede. The comparison, by the way, is not a compliment. Although slightly better than Tom Six's gross and stodgy film (on the basis of what we see on-screen, director/editor Jason Eisener has a good deal more film sense than Six), Hobo, written by John Davies, is one of the ugliest movies ever made. From its gaudy, hellish color palette to its near-non-stop, grizzly gore and violence, to the really ridiculous behavior of the movie's denizens -- good 'n bad guys 'n gals, included -- the movie goes almost immediately over the top. And then just goes on and on until it soon seems unending.
Why, you might ask, did I even bother with a film like this? Well, I was told that it was so over-the-top as to be hilarious. Over the top it certainly is, but humor, as we should know by now, is a highly personal thing, and the main problem with Hobo -- as conceived by Eisener -- is that there practically isn't any. Unless, for you, laughs automatically arrive when that top has been "over-ed." For me, real humor and/or satire involves a good deal more than that.
Other than his use of noticeably garish colors, Eisner comes up with some interesting widescreen compositions. But again, they're so excruciatingly ugly that they become increasingly difficult to watch. A latter-day Brueghel this guy ain't.
Rutger Hauer, an actor I've loved since the days of Turkish Delight, gives a fully committed performance as the Hobo, and this may be one of the film's problems. He's the only thing under-the-top in this entire fiasco. A wink or a tongue in cheek from him (or from somebody) might have helped the humor factor. But god damn: Every last cast member around Hauer is acting up a storm not seen since the most recent, really bad production of Macbeth.
There is also not a lot of logic to the plot events. When our heroine (Molly Dunsworth), gets hack-sawed half to death and is barely saved at what passes for a hospital, then within moments is back on the street raring for revenge, well, I give up. And so should she. And the rest of the contributors to this mess. But perhaps this is what the movie-makers hope will pass for humor. Again, it's such a matter of taste. Or its lack. I suppose I should mention that the idea for and title of this movie first appeared, along with the recent Machete, as a trailer in the Tarantino/Rodriguez Grindhouse (the Death Proof and Planet Terror Double Bill), and due to audience demand was made into a full length feature.
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