The movie may be called The Lone Ranger but Johnny Depp’s Tonto is the one who sets the tone for this sprawling action comedy.
Be warned. Reuniting with Pirates of the Caribbean director Gore Verbinski, Depp is at his quirkiest playing the ostensible hero’s kooky Comanche sidekick. Yet for those not put off by Depp’s wilfully eccentric comic shtick, his double act with Armie Hammer’s upright lawman John Reid, aka the Lone Ranger, works like a dream.
Even so, it may take you a while to find your bearings as Depp’s wrinkled and befuddled elderly Tonto relates the film’s tale to a young boy visiting a Wild West sideshow in 1933 San Francisco, explaining how he became the Ranger’s sidekick back in 1869 Texas and helped him foil vicious outlaw Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner) and rapacious railroad tycoon Latham Cole (Tom Wilkinson).
Costing some $200million, the film is overlong, over indulgent and tonally uneven, but it is also stuffed full of deadpan comedy, breakneck thrills and breathtaking visual spectacle; enter into the spirit of the enterprise and you will find the film hugely entertaining. Depp and company don’t overdo the irony and the big action set pieces – including a pair of sequences aboard runaway trains – combine rambunctious sprawling spectacle with clockwork comic precision.
And when score composer Hans Zimmer hands the baton over to Rossini and the rousing strains of the William Tell Overture – theme, of course, to the original Lone Ranger radio and TV series – break in to spur the heroes to another impossible feat of derring-do, it’s hard not to be stirred and swept away.
Showing on Sky Movies Action & Advenure at 11.15am & 7.30pm on Wednesday 14th May.
Released on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download by Walt Disney Studios.
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