When convicted killer, Butch Cavendish, escapes from the train taking him to his execution, John Reid suffers personal tragedy at the hands of the murderer. Wanting to ensure Cavendish is caught, he joins Tonto, a strange Native American who knows the ‘Indian Killer’ from his past. The two men, one motivated by justice and the other by revenge, build a gradual respect and understanding for one another as they get closer to capturing Cavendish but the decision of his fate threatens both their friendship and their lives.
The Lone Ranger (2013) – Director: Gore Verbinski
Running Length: 149 mins
Starring: Johnny Depp, Armie Hammer, William Fichtner
Genre: Action, Comedy
It has to be said that despite high hopes of a ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ style smash hit, ‘The Lone Ranger’ has been absolutely panned by critics and has so far failed rather miserably at the box office. However, these criticisms are incredibly unfair. This film delivers exactly what it promises, plenty of action, plenty of comedy and plenty of respectful nods to the history of The Lone Ranger, Tonto and their adventures together. It does lose its way a little in a few of the middle scenes and some time could have been shaved off in order to have made it a tighter, more contained movie but this doesn’t make it boring.
Johnny Depp clearly sees his role of Tonto as very much akin to his role of Captain Jack Sparrow in ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and hams up his performance to an almost farcical level. While this does detract somewhat from the movie, it doesn’t spoil it and the serious side he shows throughout adds depth to what could have been a shallow excuse for cheap laughs. Armie Hammer is excellent as John Reid, aka The Lone Ranger, a man who is torn between his civilised ideals of justice and more primitive desire for bloody revenge. His performance never becomes too heavy and his own comedy moments as the ‘straight man’ are just as comedic as Depp’s.
While ‘The Lone Ranger’ has its flaws, it’s full of fun and exciting action to keep kids and adults on the edge of their seats from start to finish. The musical score is beautiful, taking a lot of inspiration from Ennio Morricone (composer of Sergio Leone’s ‘Spaghetti Western’ trilogy as well as many other movies) and you’re bound to be whistling Rossini’s ‘William Tell Overture’ for days to come!
IS ‘THE LONE RANGER’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
The character of Butch Cavendish is a very sick, evil man. When one character is shot by Cavendish’s gang and lies dying, he approaches them and pushes a knife into their torso. He then cuts into the body and, while nothing is shown on screen, his men are shown to look away in disgust and vomit. He then walks towards them, wiping blood from his mouth. Shortly after, when talking about this character’s death, another man explains that Cavendish ‘cut out his heart’ and it is also made clear that he ate it. Another character tells Reid and Tonto that Cavendish ate their leg.
Towards the beginning of the movie, several bandits attack a train full of innocent people. A man is killed on the roof of the train by being strangled with a chain. His feet kick violently before his attacker drops his dead body to the floor; his face is shown and his eyes are open.
The bandits then enter a carriage full of Presbyterians, including elderly people and children. The elderly preacher is shot in the leg and the bandits laugh at him while he cries out in pain. An elderly woman is told to remove her ring and, when she is unable to take it off immediately, the bandits brandish a knife (implying that they may chop her finger off) and she screams in terror.
Reid and Tonto’s search for Cavendish leads them to a brothel. The prostitutes all wear revealing clothes and flirt with the men, however nothing too strong happens. Later in this scene, a man is bothering one of the women and trying to make her sit on his lap while she struggles to get away from him; the brothel’s Madame stops him and warns the others that there are ‘no free rides’.
There are a few brief moments of relatively strong violence throughout the movie. A young boy watches as one character is killed and his body scalped. This is done on camera but from a distance with lighting that doesn’t show any blood. In a flashback, a character sees a woman killed by a man riding a horse who slashes her back with a sword. When leaving a town, the body of a man is seen hanging from a bridge. One character has a knife thrown into their arm and two characters have their heads crushed by a heavy beam. While this isn’t too explicit and there is no blood, the bodies are seen lying on the floor and it is clear that the beam has completely destroyed their heads.
After Cavendish’s gang attacks a family, one of the bandits (who is now dressed in women’s clothes) threatens their maid. Reid and Tonto stop him and the maid escapes. Wanting to know where the family are, Reid tells the bandit that unless he talks he’ll ‘let the Indian do what he wants to you’. The bandit seems quite happy with this and asks ‘what does he want to do?’, Tonto then produces a bird’s foot. The bandit escapes and tells Cavendish ‘he’s gonna violate me with a duck foot’.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
‘The Lone Ranger’ is a brilliant action/comedy movie that manages to have a serious streak while remaining light-hearted throughout. While some of the violence can be quite strong, these moments are few and far between and should not be overly distressing for kids. Depending on your child’s sensitivity to violence, this movie should be appropriate for most kids aged 8 and over.
- Violence: 3/5
- Emotional Distress: 2/5 (Reid suffers a personal tragedy and mourns this person’s death several times throughout the film. Tonto has a tragic past and is reminded of it when many of his fellow Comanche Indians are killed)
- Fear Factor: 3/5 (Cavendish is a very frightening villain and kills lots of people, including his own men)
- Sexual Content: 2/5
- Bad Language: 2/5 (mild cursing and blasphemy)
- Dialogue: 3/5 (several mentions of hangings, death, murder, revenge, cannibalism and brothels)
- Other notes: Deals with themes of justice, revenge, family, friendship, taking advantage of a naive mind and accepting people’s differences.
- There is a scene during the end credits which does very little to add to the story, however it does give the audience an opportunity to listen to the gorgeous musical score while watching beautiful scenery.
Words by Laura Record