HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN
Hobo With a Shotgun hits in from the first few minutes. We are introduced to Rutger Hauers hobo as he arrives in Hope Town and witnesses the corruption on the streets. These include a whacked-out scene where Brian Downey and sons take a relative (Robb Wells), place a manhole cover around his neck, dump him down the manhole, tie a barb-wire noose around his neck and decapitate him by attaching the other end of the noose to their car as they drive off, while a woman in lingerie and a fur coat dances in the shower of blood and the severed head is then placed on the car as a hood ornament. This fairly much presages the tone of the rest of the film.
Hobo With a Shotgun comes close to being a one-note joke at times and would be in any lesser directors hands. However, Jason Eisener gives the film such an enthusiastic pulp energy that he transcends this. With its high degree of farcically unreal gore, Hobo With a Shotgun arrives at a level of cartoonishly surreal absurdism not unakin to The Evil Dead II (1987) or early Peter Jackson films like Bad Taste (1988), Meet the Feebles (1990) and Braindead/Deadalive (1992). The dialogue is frequently hilarious: Shut your goddamn mouth or Ill carve welfare cheques from your skin, Rutger Hauer threatens at one point. Not long after, he bodily drags Gregory Smith into the police station: Lock him up with the sodomites and get me the chief of police now. Jason Eisener directs everything with a series of hyper-real colour saturations, handheld camerawork and a frenetic editing scheme that keeps everything so busy it helps disguise a low budget.
In terms of its plot, Hobo With a Shotgun could be a variation on Taxi Driver (1976), albeit with Martin Scorseses grim social realism and grinding psychosis replaced with a dementedly tongue-in-cheek B-movie sensibility. Rutger Hauers nameless hobo is another Travis Bickle who arms himself and begins blowing away the degenerate in a moral crusade against corruption in the city. Similarly, there is also a prostitute (Molly Dunsworth) that he sees as the embodiment of innocence, even keeps referring to as a teacher, and becomes determined to save. The film never takes much of this terribly seriously one suspects a part of this would be a desire not to open up a particular can of worms that would trivialise the very real social problems of homelessness and poverty.
Rutger Hauer has been languishing in too many B-movie parts since the 1990s. While Hobo With a Shotgun is no better budgeted, it gives him the chance to get his teeth into some more substantial acting than he has in some time. Hauer, who hits age 67 at the time the film comes out, now has just the right naturally weatherbeaten look in the part.
Jason Eisener next went onto direct the Y is for Youngbuck segment of The ABCs of Death (2012) and Slumber Party Alien Abduction episode of V/H/S/2 (2013). He also acts as a producer on Turbo Kid (2015).