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article imageReview: ‘The Lone Ranger’ has several silver linings Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jul 2, 2013 in Entertainment
In ‘The Lone Ranger,’ Tonto, a Native American warrior, recounts the untold tale of how he helped John Reid become a legendary icon of justice.
The masked cowboy and his white horse are an iconic pop culture symbol. The Western hero appeared in comics, radio shows, television and film -- black and white, and color. His decision to give up a chance at a regular life in favor of bringing criminals to justice is one of the genre's most worthy pursuits. In the latest adaptation, The Lone Ranger, they take an innovative approach to the story.
John Reid (Armie Hammer) is an attorney that believes in the power of the court rather than guns. His brother, on the other hand, is a Texas Ranger who believes his gun is law. When America's most wanted Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) escapes, a posse including both brothers takes off in pursuit. But a betrayal leaves John the only survivor of an ambush. Seriously injured, he’s mended by Tonto (Johnny Depp), last remaining member of his tribe. Wearing a mask to maintain the illusion of his demise, with Tonto's help John seeks justice against the men who attacked them.
While parts of the origin story remain faithful to the source material, there are significant differences. This is not your granddad’s sombre Western – in fact, he probably wouldn't like this movie very much. It injects a lot of humour into the story via an observant and witty Tonto, and a very peculiar Silver. John is also less competent at hunting bad guys than his predecessors, relying on luck and Tonto's guidance to keep him alive. Purists may not be impressed by this modernization, but judged independently it's an entertaining narrative.
Beyond the dialogue, which was traditionally very limited, a Western must consist of a good old fashioned shootout – or three. In this picture, the two main action sequences consist of exceptional stunt performances, even if the scenes are similar in nature. The train is yet another iconic symbol of the Western as it connected the ever expanding Frontier and paved the way for progress... and robberies. So it's not entirely unfit that there be two battles on the rails between our heroes and the murdering thieves. Jumping on them, off them and through them, the locomotives are an exciting setting for a chase.
Untitled
Disney Pictures
In the end, it takes some strong actors to pull off a film like this, and Hammer and Depp were more than ready to meet the challenge. Hammer is charming and likeable, giving the impression that he's almost too nice of a guy to have taken on this mission. Normally this would be a deficit, but it works well within the context of the narrative. Depp is stone-faced, but displays fantastic comic timing for the length of the film (which is unfortunately two-and-a-half hours). It comes to a point when his one-liners are sometimes carrying the story forward and maintaining the viewer's attention. Director Gore Verbinski has worked with Depp so often, he knows exactly what he’s capable of and how to draw out the perfect performance.
In spite of the length, it's still an enjoyable watch filled with more laughs than expected, or is probably appropriate for the genre. But all is forgiven in the pinnacle moment when the theme song rings out.
Director: Gore Verbinski
Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer and William Fichtner
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