Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo with a Shotgun

directed by Jason Eisner

starring Rutger Hauer, Gregory Smith, Brian Downey, Molly Dunsworth

Magnolia Pictures

So what’s your view on that scruffy guy begging with a cardboard sign at the off ramp? Is he a good-hearted man who’s had some bad luck but would do the right thing if called upon? Or is he a dangerous psychotic who would shoot us all given half a chance? In a dystopian society, the Hobo (Rutger Hauer) jumps off a freight and into a hell-hole of a failed city run by white-suited, midget crime boss the Drake (Brian Downey). He and his two sons, Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman) brutalize the city, and prostitutes like Abby (Molly Dunsworth) have the only steady work in the area. The Hobo falls in love with her and after a particularly brutal rape, the Hobo takes his bum fight money (courtesy of Pasha Ebrahimi) and debates: lawnmower or shot gun? The lawnmower would make him middle class (relatively), but the gun would make a much better grindhouse film, and the long, luxurious blood bath begins.

Shot in a grim sector of Canada, this film starts with a ’60s-looking, over-processed color but quickly descends into a dark underworld lit by dirty street lights and gunfire. Hauer is the iconic center of the story, his weather-beaten face and four-day growth placing him squarely in the Everyman role — no name, no history, and no future; he only can react to the moment. Sometimes that involves tenderness with a bleeding Abby, but mostly he is beat, abused, and set up to seek vengeance. Around him are some truly scary men — Drake and his sons are Shakespearean in their depths of evil and corruption, and the seemingly pleasant sheriff (Jeremy Ackerman) greets him with a smile and pistol-whipping and the greeting “Welcome to fuck town.” Good thing you can’t find this place on Google Earth.

The violence in this film achieves sublime heights of comedy. Drake punishes people by bolting a sewer lid around their neck, dropping them into a matching hole in the street, and pulling their heads off. The Hobo is up to the challenge — he shotguns Slick’s pecker off, leaving only a bloody dishrag-sized foreskin. Abby learned a thing or two in shop class and turns the Hobo’s beloved lawnmower into an industrial-sized head trimmer. Even small stuff, like the Hobo eating glass for $20 pulls a laugh — it’s not funny, but dammit, it truly is. Like Machete, this film started as a trailer that became enormously popular, and eventually became real. There’s nothing like a good title or a good buzz to sell an indie film, and this film is more than a labor of love, it’s a great piece of entertainment that your mother will hate. Post apocalyptic hell-hole films come and go with the economy, and while you may not have a job or a house, you will always have Hobo with a Shogun.

Hobo with a Shotgun: www.magnetreleasing.com/hobowithashotgun

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