(director:/writer: David & Nathan Zellner; cinematographer: Adam Stone; editor: Melba Robichaux; music: The Octopus Project; cast: Robert Pattinson(Samuel Alabaster), Mia Wasikowski(Penelope), David Zellner (Parson Henry), Nathan Zellner (Rufus Cornell), Robert Forster (Old Preacher), Joseph Billingiere (Zacharia); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Chris Ohlson/David & Nathan Zellner; Magnolia Pictures; 2018)
“It plays out as an oddball western parody with a comical attitude to the Old West.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The siblings, David & Nathan Zellner (“Kumiko”/”Treasure Hunter”), co-direct and co-write this minimalist, contemporary, off-beat western in a deadpan tone. It plays out as an oddball western parody with a comical attitude to the Old West (circa 1870), as the brothers hope to puncture holes in those familiar cowboy love tales. Samuel (Robert Pattinson), an affluent pioneer sporting gold teeth, is looking in the Old West (filmed in Oregon) for his Penelope (Mia Wasikowski). He comes to a frontier town to serenade his fiance with his guitar and to make a marriage proposal. He also wishes to present her with a gift of a miniature horse called Butterscotch. Parson Henry (David Zellner), a drunk, has been hired to accompany him.
En route the men meet the hostile bearded mountain man Rufus (Nathan Zellner), a psychopath, who shoots at them. Samuel reveals to the parson that Rufus has kidnapped his Penelope (a one-dimensional character) and he’s come to rescue her. We then learn the parson is not a parson, but dresses like one because an old preacher (Robert Forster) gave the clothes to him. It’s a cornball acquired taste western, one that had little appeal for me (it’s too deranged, too meandering and hardly funny). Being silly is not necessarily being funny. I just found it inane except for a very few sketches that gave me a couple of reluctant chuckles.
The uneven mix of bloody gore and continuous surprises left me wanting a Coen brothers film instead of this poor attempt at one.
REVIEWED ON 8/28/2018 GRADE: C