“I used to be like you… a long time ago.You’re all brand new and perfect. No mistakes, no regrets. People look at you and think of how wonderful your future will be. They want you to be something special… like a doctor… or a lawyer. I hate to tell you this, but if you grow up here, you’re more likely to wind up selling your bodies on the streets, or shooting dope from dirty needles in a bus stop. And if you’re successful, you’ll make money selling junk to crackheads… and won’t think twice about killing someone’s wife, because you won’t even know it’s wrong in the first place. Maybe… you’ll end up like me….”
“A HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN!”
Jason Eisener’s Hobo With a Shotgun (2011) initially started life as a fake trailer created for an international South by Southwest (SXSW) contest to promote the release of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s double feature GRINDHOUSE (2007). Starring David Brunt as a homeless vigilante, pissed off and intent on keeping the streets clean, the trailer created by Jason Eisener, John Davies and Rob Cotterill won the contest and was included in various screenings of GRINDHOUSE in Canada.
Fast forward four years to the full feature length release of Hobo With a Shotgun, a exploitative 80’s throwback that has already gained itself a sizeable cult following due to it’s shameless brutality and black humour that runs throughout it’s 86 minute runtime. A homeless vagabond (Rutger Hauer) arrives at a new city via freight train called “Hope Town” only to quickly realise that he is trapped in urban chaos. Affectionately referred to as “Scum Town” or “Fuck Town”, this is a lawless city where crime reigns and everyone lives in either fear or admiration of the infamous Drake (Brian Downey), a sadistic and immoral individual who rules the streets with an iron fist and without empathy. The Drake wouldn’t even blink an eye, and would indeed take pleasure, if required to execute a close family member.
The majority of the Drake’s dirty work however is handled by his two charismatic, but equally sadistic sons Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman) who perform the most heinous of crimes in order to gain respect built from fear. In this urban landscape you can expect to witness abuse, murder, desecration, robbery and child abduction – all just for shits and giggles.
Our nameless hobo hero tries his best to ignore the filth, the crime and the corruption taking place in his new found home, hoping to raise enough money begging to buy himself a lawnmower and begin his own landscaping business. However, when he witnesses a prostitute by the name of Abby (Molly Dunsworth) being abused by Slick, avoiding confrontation ultimately proves too difficult and it’s not long before the hobo decides to bring his own vigilante justice and clean up town the only way he knows how… with a 20-gauge shotgun ONE SHELL AT A TIME!
The intensely creative and bizarre acts of brutality that occurs throughout Hobo With a Shotgun are both nostalgic and freakishly beautiful. The Drake is destined to become cult favourite villain. His insane attitude, imagination and lovable game show host personality is just one of the many highlights that protrude from the screen in this orgy of blood and
carnage. But it’s truly Rutger Hauer that steals the show as the homeless protagonist with revenge in his eyes and a shotgun in hand.
What had started life as a no budget fake trailer has turned into a low budget fully featured film. Hobo With a Shotgun may have it’s tongue placed firmly in cheek but it’s execution has been treated with total seriousness. The production values are high, the talent is well cast and their execution in key scenes is mesmerising, the cinematography is extremely detailed, maximizing the colour red wherever possible and the script breaks all the rules of film making creating a story that is as imaginative as it is offensive. Is Jason Eisener’s Hobo With a Shotgun one for the whole family to enjoy? Absolutely!
During the process of putting this review together I came across a short review of Hobo With a Shotgun written by Chris Tookey for the Daily Mail Online. Now anyone familiar with the 1984 Video Recordings Act will know that the Daily Mail began their own successful campaign against the distribution of horror and exploitation films, believing that the exposure of these ‘video nasties’ to young children was the cause of an increase of violent crime amongst youths. So naturally I was interested to see what their response was to exploitation at it’s most extreme with today’s more relaxed modern attitudes.
The few short paragraphs that comprise the body of Christopher Tookey’s review were extremely negative unsurprisingly but it wasn’t Chris’ opinion that had angered me, everyone is entitled to their own opinion after all. No, the reason I was overwhelmed with enough emotion to add this segment was due to Chris’ disgust that there would even be an audience for this film, going as far to call the fans idiots…
To quote Christopher Tookey’s final paragraph: “There is, of course, an audience for this kind of depressing junk, and no shortage of idiots on the internet who will vilify any critic who dares to point out it is depressing junk.”
If a fan comments negatively on a review in defence of his or her favourite film is that not just an opinion in the same way Chris has wrote a negative review based on his own opinion? I don’t believe it can be assumed that an entire audience has a lower intelligence quotient just because they share a different opinion to someone based on entertainment. What happened to subjective critical thinking? Evidence through observation? For me Jason Eisener’s Hobo With a Shotgun was my favourite film of 2011, and I say favourite film rather than the best film this year to indicate it is subjective, because you can see all the hard work and passion every single individual has put into the making of this film.
You can find Christopher Tookey’s review of Hobo With a Shotgun at the Daily Mail Online. Feel free to leave him your own opinion.
Don’t forget to follow Jason Eisener on twitter: http://twitter.com/jasoneisener
Rutger Hauer … Hobo
Pasha Ebrahimi … Bumfight Filmmaker
Robb Wells … Logan (as Rob Wells)
Brian Downey … Drake
Gregory Smith … Slick
Directed By … Jason Eisener