The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger ★★★★★

Watched this with the West Coast contingent of the FilmFisher team tonight. They picked the movie, not me. I have never been more proud. Two unrelated observations:

1) With Once Upon a Time in Hollywood still stewing in my mind, suddenly, it struck me that this is the Tarantino film Tarantino never made. (No wonder he publicly stated in 2013 that he liked it and considered it one of the year's best films.) Verbinski and Tarantino both love Sergio Leone, especially Once Upon a Time in the West, and they're both weird, idiosyncratic, indulgent guys, but beyond that, The Lone Ranger is doing the exact same kind of cathartic historical revisionism that Tarantino's been doing for the last decade. The difference is that in The Lone Ranger, justice is doled out in joyous, innocent, Saturday matinee style. It's often a mean and ugly film, but by the climax, all that meanness and ugliness drops away for something straightforwardly delightful. I'd also go to bat for The Lone Ranger as being much more rigorous and coherent about its meta-fictional layers than Tarantino's films (except perhaps his latest), affording its tragedy an appropriate weight and thus maintaining a certain wistfulness.

2) After conspicuously name-dropping John Locke twice in its first hour, the film proves to be a vicious takedown of his philosophy. Locke argues that natural self-interest, allied with reason, will rescue man from the state of nature and place him in a good society. In The Lone Ranger, reason (Latham Cole) directs natural self-interest (Butch Cavendish) to no good end. The Enlightenment, man.

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