I am aware that there are certainties in the world of cinema that we do not want to believe: that Quentin Tarantino only has one movie left, that Pixar no longer counts his tapes as masterpieces… or that Walter Hill left behind the days of ‘The Warriors’ and ’48 Hour Limit’ a long time ago. And for proof, his last work, a pitiful poorly directed and worse edited portrait that produces more sadness and nostalgia for extra-cinematic reasons than for what we can see on the screen.
one from the west
In these times in which we do not stop considering whether an artificial intelligence could write a coherent script, ‘The bounty hunter’ arrives, a film that seems, as it is, Created from start to finish by a program that understands nothing of human feelings or attitudes. All the clichés of any western you can think of are here, but there is no intention behind it or a story to tell: the footage scrolls slowly without one feeling that the tape has any purpose beyond its mere existence.
And it won’t be because I’m not full of familiar facescertainly eager to work with Walter Hill: Willem Dafoe, Christoph Waltz and Rachel Brosnahan form a trident that should be infallible but here, bound to a script with nothing to hold on to, they limit themselves to being the kings of the show, doing what they can and hoping that the low budget will not show in the final cut. But it shows. And how.
Watching ‘The Bounty Hunter’ we have to repeat to ourselves that it is a film directed by a legend of American cinema and not the first film by a film student. Sadly, in the end it is neither entertaining nor witty, nor does it go beyond a stereotypical plot, characters that are only sketchy and dialogues that are in danger of embarrassing others. Some American critics defended it claiming that it is a proud and self-aware B-movie. Personally… I’m not so sure.
For a Fistful of Dollars (Literally)
The artisans of cinema belong to another era. One in which they had enough budget to be able to carry out their ideas. In ‘The bounty hunter’ it seems that all the money went into hiring the interpreters and there was nothing left for the rest of the sections of the film: the set looks like plastic, the script needs a few revisions to stray -at least a little- from the most boring cliché, the extremely slow editing abuses fade-outs to black after each scene and the direction can’t do anything when the wind continually blows against them.
There are some moments where it is intuited that, scratching, the movie could have been better, especially in some dialogues that, from time to time, they know how to be sharp enough and in some camera movements where you can sense the mastery of who is behind it. However, no matter how much whoever wants to wear a mask to camouflage the artifice of “retro” and the common places of “always cinema”, it is difficult to be able to deceive oneself to that point.
But perhaps that is precisely what Hill was trying to do, a tribute to that simple cowboys and Indians cinema, that television series that your father was hooked on every summer afternoon in which a man has a mission, finds a team, fulfills it and that’s it. Time has passed, the language of cinema is different and, despite everything, Hill seems determined to tell, once again, the story of characters who always make the right decisions in a West that is not too wild. recorded with digital cameras whose texture is far from the depth of John Ford’s cinema and it resembles a little more the baptism of your cousin Conchita. In the end, the visual aspect only adds layers to the utter flatness we are faced with.
the last outlaw
But at the same time, you can tell that Willem Dafoe and Christoph Waltz are having a great time, Walter Hill cashed his check after making this commissioned film and no one has hurt his career for this little stumbling block trying to emulate an era. I can’t recommend that you see it under any circumstances beyond completion, but I’m not angry about its existence either. It’s very minor, almost a class project, and of course it would need more accurate post-production, but we have been in worse.
Do you want a good western from the last decade? There are a good handful of better options than this.: ‘The Power of the Dog’, ‘Cry Macho’, ‘The Hateful Eight’, ‘Bone Tomahawk’, ‘Comanchería’ or ‘The Sisters Brothers’ are good places from which to put the genre in a modern perspective. But ‘The bounty hunter’ It’s a stale lemonade that can’t quench even the driest thirstwithout this invalidating its intention of homage.
The problem is that if the tribute to series B is given from the series B itself, the result is in danger of being more one of those films to which it supposedly refers than an exaltation in itself. And ‘The Bounty Hunter’ may have prestigious actors, a director with an irrefutable career behind him and a more or less ingenious script, but he never manages to cross the barrier of what he believes he is putting in value: it is a very simple on a tiny budget that think it’s something else. Sadly for everyone, she’s the only one who believes it.
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