After turning a ride into a successful franchise with The Pirates of the Caribbean, the trio of director Gore Verbinski, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and actor Johnny Depp come together for this origin story of one of the most popular characters of the Wild West, The Lone Ranger.
While the promos didn’t look particularly promising — looked like reheated leftovers from Pirates, the movie turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Well-acted with mind-altering action sequences, and a pleasing visual style, The Lone Ranger is intelligent; one can draw parallels with the current economic scenario — imagine political satire from a Bruckheimer film. Wonders never cease!
Broadly following the radio show, the movie tells of a conscientious lawyer John Reid who joins his brother, Dan, a ranger to capture the outlaw Butch Cavendish, supposed to be a wendigo — a demon with a taste for human flesh. Tonto, a Comanche, is also on Cavendish’s tracks. A beautiful maiden, a pegged-legged brothel owner, a spirit horse (remember Mel Brooks’ History of the World I?), greedy railroad owners and lots of silver add to the mayhem. The movie tells Reid’s story as he realises the best way to serve the law is to work outside it as a masked vigilante, the lone ranger.
Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer as John Reid are easy on the eye and very likeable. There was some controversy about Depp playing a Native American. Depp, with a crow on his head and bizarre make-up, effortlessly walked the thin line between parody and dead seriousness. Helena Bonham Carter as the ivory legged madam is fun as only she can be.
There is something about trains that bring out the child in us and this film had a whole lot of train chases with shootouts atop the train apart from horses narrowly missing rushing tunnels. And then there is also the bridge that goes down with a satisfying crash.
At 149 minutes, The Lone Ranger is rather long, but one wouldn’t complain too much as it gives us a chance to look at those wide vistas and yes also the bare-chested Depp.
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Arnie Hammer, Helena Bonham Carter
Storyline: An origin story of how John Reid became the lone ranger
Bottomline: A fairly engrossing Western reboot