There was much to be concerned about, prior to viewing The Lone Ranger.
Johnny Depp’s previous decade of performances dating back to the start of 2001 have been underwhelming and repetitive.
Director Gore Verbinski’s three Pirates of the Caribbean films felt more merchandise than meaning.
Armie Hamer has rarely been tested as a leading actor in his short career.
Its release in America was met with a muted box office, with critics leading the march over the film’s apparent failure.
But The Lone Ranger is far from flawed.
In this decade of blockbuster films, the down-to-earth simplicity and old school Western feel, is balanced nicely against digital effects that, thankfully, do not overload the experience.
Infact, there was more originality in this film, than in any blockbuster I can recall in recent memory. The scenes are dealt with a sharp wit, cut perfectly for length and never overstay their welcome. Gags that are common place in early Westerns or spoof films, are introduced with ingenuity.
Bojan Bazelli’s cinematography soars across the landscapes, with gorgeous framing and hues.
And then there is Depp.
Without a doubt, his performance of Tonto is one of the finest of his career. The solemn, longing atmosphere in the opening scene alone is one of the best of 2013.
He channels humour and sadness in his inflections and the slight changes in his face.
Despite the film’s title, it’s Tonto who leads the story. Hamer’s Lone Ranger is passable, but never gravitates to the heroic heights like early Western serials.
But Hamer’s selection is the right one. An actor who has yet to make his own ground in cinema, who doesn’t outshine the establishment.
The Lone Ranger is the companion in this film.
It’s a movie of great adventure and humour. Sorrowful and nostalgic. One of the better films I’ve seen in 2013. With shades of Little Big Man, it proves that if script and performances are strong, a blockbuster can stand on its own legs without the over-reliance of CGI.
Score: 3.5 / 5