This was a first for me. To be asked if I would like to review a film for it’s DVD release. One with a screener and a password. All very exciting. The title Tombstone-Rashomon sounded very intriguing but what really knocked my socks off was the director’s name. That cult favourite, British screenwriter and director, Alex Cox.
He’d created two huge films from my youth. The road movie with a twist Repo Man (1984) with Emilio Estevez and the legendary Harry Dean Stanton. And the bio drama Sid and Nancy (1986) that centered on the relationship between Sid Vicious of Sex Pistols fame and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. Which pretty much kick-started Gary Oldman’s fantastic career.
Alex Cox had an enormous effect on my movie loving passion as you can read in my post The Inspirational Moviedrome Series of Ultimate Cult Films With Alex Cox. So the task ahead of me was very exciting if not a little terrifying. I was psyched for the opportunity but don’t worry, I was prepared to be brought crashing back to Earth. Dear god! I’d seen the trailer for Repo Chick (2009) and was well aware that those prime film-making skills had dwindled a tad! He’d embarked on a series of very low budget micro-features. Some of which were made possible by crowdfunding. Still Alex’s passion, energy and creative enthusiasm shines through with his trademark experimental flare.
What with no Sheen family members in the cast or no spiky haired mayhem from Oldham. Come to that, there’s not even a scene stealing Val Kilmer or that gorgeous gravel drawl of Sam Elliot, you know what! There isn’t even a ghost of a samurai!…. What we do get is the obligatory big hairy mustaches, a collection of Arizona accents, Alex Cox dressed as a Shakespearean poet and a small mention to time travel! Yep time travel.
On 27th October 1881 a time traveling video crew arrived in Tombstone, AZ to film the gunfight at the OK Corral…..
Realizing they were a day late. They set about interviewing the survivors.
Tombstone-Rashomon is a homage, mash up, reinterpretation of that fabled historical gunfight at Tombstone. Lead by Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and his good friend Doc Holliday. Inspired by the story telling style of Akira Kurosawa’s superb mystery, Rashomon (1950). In the way that the narration of a story can have contradictory accounts experienced by different perspectives of the witnesses.
The interviews are given by an unseen woman’s voice. To me, it felt like she could have been artificial intelligence in nature. Six are interviewed. Wyatt Earp (Adam Newberry), Doc Holliday (Eric Schumacher), Kate (Christine Doidge), Ike Clanton (Benny Lee Kennedy), Colonel Hafford (Richard Anderson) and Johnny Behan (Jesse Lee Pacheco). All have different takes on that eventful day.
Tagline – O.K Corral has many stories…. All begin with death.
As the story pan’s out we get twisted pieces of information. Kate relays some strange stuff. Referring to Doc Holliday as feminine whilst reporting on the gunfight that the Earps were killed “But later they got well?“. However we do see her swigging some tasty looking opium based liqueur. Then in Jesus Christ Superstar fashion we get an out of time, metal “horse” carriage, this one with added sirens rather than hippies!
Like with many historical incidents throughout time there is always that possibility that facts could have become askew from different points of view. History, some say, is written by the victors. Does history favour the good side over the bad? Could Wyatt’s gang of lawmen been over heavy handed? Maybe a different outcome could of come without blasting holes in each other? More than likely the historic facts are true but what if you could have gone back in time and interviewed all that witnessed the events leading up to that deadly day!
It’s a fun and inventive idea. Of course it’s not that great a film but for the budget everyone does their authentic part well. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday especially give convincing performances. The costumes, sets and landscapes all set the scene. You get cowboys looking mean and moody, ladies looking fine in their outfits of the era. The multiple gunfights are cool. Lots of slow-mo and a whole heap of spitting. Insert spittoon sound here. Purt-ding.
TriCoast Entertainment will release ‘Tombstone Rashomon’ onto DVD in store and online April 21st.
Thanks for checking in on my film blog.
Keep watching the screens, all the best………. Mikey