Friday, December 12, 2014

Tusk (2014)

Director: Kevin Smith
Writer:   Kevin Smith
Cast:      Michael Parks, Justin Long, Haley Joel Osmont

When a podcaster Wallace Bryton (Justin Long) goes missing in the backwoods of Manitoba while interviewing a mysterious seafarer named Howard Howe (Michael Parks), his best friend and fellow podcaster Teddy (Haely Joel Osmont) and girlfriend Allison (Genesis Rodriguez) team with an ex-cop (Johnny Depp) to look for him.

I saw the film carrying an annoying bout of cold and am not sue whether it was because of that, I thought John Hurt was playing Howard Hoe, instead of Michael Parks, and Steve Coogan was playing the Quebec cop Guy Lapointe, instead of Johnny Depp. The film didn't help much in that regard by having Guy Lapointe playing Guy Lapointe in the closing credits and I assumed it was some famous French actor. The film began as an adaptation of a story said on Kevin Smith's podcast-'Smodcast'. It was based on an ad by a guy on Gumtree (British Craiglist-lite) who offered living conditions free of charge on the condition that the lodger will dress as a 'Walrus'. Smith then tweeted people to tweet #WalrusYes if they want the film to be made or else #WalrusNo. That is the background story to it. It is the first in Kevin Smith's planned trilogy of horror films set in Canada. Tusk is Smith channeling his inner Cronenberg and Coen Brothers and the result is a very enjoyable comedy-horror film. There was one point when I was thinking that the dialog have a very Coen feel to it, there was this Big Lebowski reference thrown in. The role played by Johnny Depp was initially offered to Tarantino, who turned it down citing that he has not interest in acting anymore, and am glad he did that because this is the best we have seen Depp in a long time, even though I didn't realize it was him until afterwards. It is also interesting to read the history of The Beatles' song 'I am the Walrus.

This was Smith's first feature film since 'Red State' and unlike that one, which he chose to do independent distribution with Q&A, Tusk got a limited release. It is much better than Red State and is Kevin Smith's best effort since 'Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back'. There are plenty of references to stories discussed in Smodcast for regular listeners, which I am not. It was good to see Haley Joel Osmont (Sixth Sense, A.I) back and the film is a great watch but as always, not recommended for everyone. 

Rating: 4/5