Hobo With a Shotgun
When the train rolls into its final stop, a weary-eyed man jumps off with dreams of a new start. But he soon realizes that his new home is nothing more than an urbanized version of hell. Run by crooked cops and a maniac monster known only as 'The Drake,' the town is the perfect version of hell on Earth. But the fear-dealing family won't be in control for long; not if the town's newest resident has anything to say about it. Jason Eisener's Hobo With a Shotgun tells the story of our traveler, who risks everything to save a town full of delinquent suckers who simply refuse to fight back.
I really wanted to love this film. Not only do I enjoy the always discomforting selections that comprise Sundance's 'Park City at Midnight' category, but I got to see Eisener's short film, Treevenge, at my first Sundance. So, in a way, he holds a special place with me. Sadly, Hobo With a Shotgun is an unfortunate excuse for a film; one that contains a solid story, but still lacks the development and reasoning for a true-to-form, feature length hit.
My biggest problem with this film lies in its story and presentation. The music is loud, the dialogue a bit too soft and the story a bit ridiculous. Now I get the point of the film. I understand that it is paying homage to the Grindhouse genre of the 70s and 80s, and it isn't supposed to be a Hollywood conformed tale. However, it still needs to make sense, and it needs to have a purpose. Like I said, this film did neither.
Rutger Hauer, who played the original killer in 1986's The Hitcher, does a good job here as 'Hobo'. His delivery is fun and lighthearted, and he brings an unusual sense of class and excitement to the picture. Those around him don't live up to their billing, but somehow that is okay, as long as Hauer is in the picture. He meshes with the story nicely, using the overdone aspects to his full advantage.
I honestly believe that if this film had debuted anywhere else, other than the Sundance Film Festival, it would not be well received. I know many festival enthusiast applaud it for its originality; however, it lacks clarity and purpose. I see what Eisener and company were trying to accomplish, but they attempted to go too far with their story. As a result, the film is mediocre at best. A true midnight flick, but one that will never resonate with the masses.