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"The body of Ransom Pride belongs to me."
It didn't take me very long to realize that I wasn't going to enjoy The Last Rites of Ransom Pride. Ten minutes, at most. The whole vibe of the movie just turns me off. I like Lizzy Caplan, but putting one appealing actress in the middle of a disaster doesn't do much good. I disliked the way it was filmed, the dialogue, and the absurd, meandering, nonsensical narrative that served as the story.
Basically, Ransom Pride (the man) is a recently dead acquaintance of Juliette Flower (Caplan), and she made a promise to retrieve his body and bury it near his mother. In order to get his body, she has to deliver Ransom's still living younger brother to some seedy folks. Lots of people hate her, lots of people want her dead, and lots of people try to stop her. That's the story. There are lots of unlikeable characters that were utterly ridiculous in their seriousness, the frequent action scenes are terrible, and the entire movie makes little sense. Sounds like a real winner, right?
It's rare for me to truly hate a movie, but The Last Rites of Ransom Pride reached that dubious achievement. This is probably in the bottom two or three movies that I've seen this entire year. The only good news is that I (hopefully) don't have to ever watch it again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It cost me a dollar to rent this and I have to say it's the worst use
I've ever put a dollar to. To think I could have put that as a down
payment on a pack of gum or just turned Washington's head into a
mushroom. But no, I had to rent the interminable Last Rites of Ransom
It begins with a voice-over telling us of Juliette's(Lizzy Kaplan)sad childhood and how she had to kill an evil general in his sleep. It's not a terribly long opening narration, and then we're hit with the oddly fonted subtitles telling us it's 11 years later, 11 years after she told us the voice-over or the actual events, we can only guess. By the way, the subtitles are very hard to read, which is unfortunate because they're used quite often.
Other than the little bit of back story we get, the characters aren't particularly deep. Lizzy Kaplan pretty much keeps one expression on her face for the entire flick and Dwight Yokam calls her whore a lot, but that might not have been in the script. Peter Dinklage does as well as he can with the material, but despite this contribution, his character is simply named "Dwarf" in the credits. Don't seem right.
A lot of what follows is intermittently plastered with instant replays of previous scenes and "artsy" shaky cam shots of animal skulls and birds that jerk like they're in a Tool video. These don't really add anything to the film and only serve to prolong the misery of watching it. It's not a terribly complicated story either, but Tiller sure takes the scenic route getting us there. It's like he's slowly winding a broken jack in the box. You want the weasel to pop, but you know it never will.
If you like westerns I wouldn't suggest seeing this, and if you don't like westerns, I still wouldn't.
Another in a long line of pretentious Canadian films. Too often, I see
Canadian film makers who think they have to display all manner of
pseudo-intellectual, artsy nonsense in order to convince the viewer
that the Canadian movie experience is more cerebral and enlightening
than those gauche, low-brow US movies. Harumph!
And yet they borrow every US-based visual trick to make their films. The result is a lurching Frankenstein monster that sends me running for my torch light and pointed stick.
This movie is visually ugly, with jerky cutaway shots that make me think they are trying to do a style job a la Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula." Coppola shows us how it's done when done well; sorry guys, but you show us what it looks like when done badly.
This could have been a beautiful, interesting Western if they'd have stuck to some of the more traditional elements of the genre. I'm thinking something along the lines of "The Assassination of Jesse James..." Obviously, they didn't have a Brad Pitt budget, but my opinion is that they wasted too much cash on the unnecessary visual junk.
And speaking of cash, I imagine the constraints of Canadian government funding also put the strangle-hold on their efforts. There is little funding to be had for Canadian art unless it screams pretentiousness and faked intellectualism.
You want to know something? When I watched this one on Netflix, I never knew it was Canadian by its description. It was listed as a Western and I love Westerns, so I picked it out. Two minutes into it, I had it pegged as a Canadian film. Go figure.
And in case you're wondering, I am Canadian, myself, and I do like some Canadian flicks. "The Saddest Music in the World" is one of my faves. It shows that you can be quirky without being a snob about it. That is a FUN movie, filmed (in an old warehouse in Winnipeg) with Vaseline smeared on the camera lenses. Nothing high-brow or snooty, here, folks! HA HA HA!!
Ahem...back to the review.
The characters in this one are unpleasant. Dwight Yoakam is fun to watch, but he can't carry such a heavy load on his shoulders alone. I'm not going to lay out the details of bad characters - suffice to say there was no character that I could root for, or get behind, or cheer for!
In the long run, I guess it's all about personal taste, so I would never tell a person to pass this one by. The fact that people made this movie (presumably with some enthusiasm) is testimony that SOMEONE out there is interested in this type of thing. But it ain't me, Babe. No, no, no...it ain't--
Well, you get the idea.
Be forewarned, is all. It's called a Western, but doesn't feel like one. Not by a long shot. It feels like you're standing in an allegedly upscale museum, where people are expected to praise every splatter and smear simply because they've been told that it's art.
I don't consider my tastes to be low-brow. I am fully capable of appreciating cerebral works. Actually, I enjoy movies of all genres. The only thing I ask is that it entertains me. Entertains my eyes, my ears, my imagination. This one did none of those things.
The people who gave this a bad review clearly do not understand the B rate movie genre. I stumbled upon this little gem by accident and really liked from the start. By 10 minutes in I was on the edge of my seat wondering what the director was going to do next. I'm not going to spoil this by providing plot clues and tidbits about exciting scenes. I'm just going to give my impression and let you decide for yourselves. This movie is well casted. The script isn't awful. The cinematography is gripping. The story line is fitting of the genre. The acting is OK. Suspend disbelief for a few moments, just remember that it's B Rate, and enjoy it for what it is.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, that was a first. I was tired of watching this movie before the
opening credits were over. Out of all the torturous, infuriating,
depressing and defective cinema I have seen, nothing ever sucked so
fast, so hard as The Last Rites of Ransom Pride. Fortunately, the rest
of the film wasn't any worse that the very beginning or I would have
had to garrote myself with a strand of dental floss. What the remaining
inept mess did make me feel like doing is weeping for the future. There
have always been terrible motion pictures but it used to be that the
folks who made them knew what they were doing, they were just really
bad at it. Now we get rubbish like this where the people who made it
don't even know how to tell a story. They don't know how to construct a
character. The don't know how to structure a plot. They don't know how
to craft dialog. All they know how to do is copy what they've seen
others do on screen without understanding any of it. It's like a chimp
imitating a human
except the chimp is really, really stupid.
Let's start with those opening credits. Imagine every excessively edited montage you've ever seen, the worst bits of every horrendous music video to ever see the light of day, and multiply that by 2. Then you'll have some idea of how irritating these opening credits are. They'll make you want to physically assault the person who put them together for being so insultingly clichéd.
As for the story, a guy you won't care about (Scott Speedman) gets killed in Mexico in 1911. A girl you won't care about (Lizzy Caplan) agrees to buy back his body in exchange for the guy's brother (Jon Foster), who you also won't care about. The father of the two guys you won't care about (Dwight Yoakum) is kind of interesting, but only because he's played by Dwight Yoakum. As the girl and the brother you won't care about ride down South, the father and two others guys you won't care about (W. Earl Brown and Jason Priestly) follow. Not together, of course, because that might make some sense. No, the father and the two other guys travel separately, though they seem to take the same route. Maybe Yoakum insisted he share as little screen time as possible with Priestly.
The girl and the brother you won't care about run into some other people you won't care about (Peter Dinklage, Blu Mankuma and the Quijada brothers) and eventually hatch a scheme to steal back the corpse of that first guy you didn't care about. That plot is foiled when the father shows up and that leads to the girl and the brother having a final showdown with him. Now, since the father is built up as the main villain through the entire film up to that point, you'd think such a battle would signal the end of the movie.
Wrong! The Last Rites of Ransom Pride keeps going after killing its only interesting character and, instead, brings in yet another guy you don't care about (Kris Kristofferson) to have yet another showdown with the girl and the brother you won't care about. And that's the worst example in this whole pitiful production of how these filmmakers don't even know to tell a story. How can you not save the final battle with the father for the ending climax of the movie? How can you think bringing in a replacement at the end is going to work? I'm not even going to get into the laughable way they try to tie the final battle of the girl you won't care about with some other chick you won't care about together with this film's backstory prologue.
And while all of that nonsense in going on, you're visually battered by cutaways, flashbacks, flash forwards and other editing/narrative digressions that you've seen a jillion times before, but which are apparently supposed to be improved here through sheer mass tonnage.
From Lizzy Caplan using a grand total of one expression and one inflection for the entire flick, to wondering how much Scott Speedman wishes he'd been in the 3rd Underworld sequel instead of this thing, to realizing that even someone as talented at Peter Dinklage has to probably take every part he's offered because there just aren't that many roles for a little person, The Last Rites of Ransom Pride is a parade of discouraging failure. A stubbed toe is more entertaining than this thing because at least the pain doesn't last for over 80 minutes. Don't just skip it. Vault over it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Last Rites of Ransom Pride is an old west run and gun action film,
with touches of the dramatic, and excellent unintrusive comic relief.
The intro belies a highly entertaining film, as the opening credits
honestly look like they were made with Windows movie maker, but this is
quickly set aside with a sterling intro to the story.
Frankly, the casting in this film is beyond genius. There are few large names to guide it, but all of the actors are perfect for their roles. From Lizzy Caplan as the exceptionally attractive lead femme fatale, to Peter Dinklage as the token midget. Blu Mankuma also plays an outstanding character, complete with snappy dialogue and possibly one of the best scenes of dialogue in the film, paired with Peter Dinklage. For some reason he isn't featured in the IMDb cast list, but he plays a prominent role, and is definitely one to watch the film for.
But no film can be perfect, and the flaw with this film is purely narrative. Even into the final scene of the film, I couldn't help but roll my eyes at the old favourite, the "pre-kill monologue". Almost every kill in this film seems to occur as a result of the person you think will win taking his/her sweet bloody time about it. Now using this once in a film is forgivable, but I lost count after a while. It just seemed no one in this world (despite being hardened killers) could end someone's life without telling them a little about themselves, why they were killing the target, and how they were going to do it. And of course as a result, almost all expected results were reversed.
But truth be told, however annoying this came to be, the characters were great, and the overall story arc had a great hook to it. Certainly should you be given the chance to watch this film, take it.
It felt like a guilty pleasure watching the undeniably charismatic lead shoot her sultry and sexy way through assorted scuzzy reprobates, in this stylised take on the Western genre. The story involves an entertaining romp along the Mexican American border just after the turn of the last Century, in which early forms of mechanised transport duel with the traditional horsebacked cowboy depiction, and help to capture a changing age. The characters we are introduced to along the way (such as the dwarf/dying Siamese combo) help add to the slightly exotic, almost burlesque feel of the film. There is nothing particularly original here, and it felt like a definite case of 'style over substance'; I thought the final product was slightly let down by some hard-to-hear dialogue, and I couldn't decide if the jarring 'electric shock' flashbacks (or forwards) were too fast for me to keep up with, or just unnecessary. The casting department appeared to have raided the strange world of professional David Beckham lookalikes to fill the supporting role, and his transition from obedient daddy's boy to moody, seasoned side-kick shooter was too sudden and implausible....but then these are minor gripes about a film that doesn't profess much of a basis in historical reality, and is all the better for it. 7/10
The Last Rites Of Ransom Pride is definitely one weird western where
the central character takes a step down from Sharon Stone in terms of
social standing. Her boyfriend is the title character played at the
beginning and in flashbacks by Scott Speedman and he's gunned down by
someone he did not suspect at the beginning. But she promises him as
the life oozes out of him on the town street to get his body back
across the border for burial.
Speedman comes from a large clan named Pride. Speedman's dad is Reverend Dwight Yoakum who wears the title loosely and his uncle is Kris Kristofferson. They're not the greatest specimens of humanity ever, but they resent their son taking up with a prostitute. And one that shoot and fight like Lizzy Caplan. At least Sharon Stone in The Quick And The Dead was a good girl in an infinitely better film.
Not only do they hold Speedman against Caplan, but now she's involved with another Pride played by Jon Foster. And all the poor girl wants to do is the right thing by her dead boyfriend.
The Last Rites Of Ransom Pride is one terrible waste of good actors and good country singers.
So you want to make a western, but not just a western. Nooooo. This is gonna be a Work of art too. So we add some weird color scheme and a lot of fixed camera settings on plants and desolate landscapes. Some strange music on top and let the plot unfurl really slooow. Now this takes the western up to art level, right? WRONG!! This is the recipe for a bad movie. Same thing happened for the french adaption of the comic Blueberry. What you get is a pretentious nothing. There have been several westerns deserving the art stamp. (The Searchers, The good bad & ugly, The unforgiven, to name a few), but these always worked within the boundaries of how a western should be, namely entertaining. This one definitely doesn't fit the bill.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
More a short film than an actual film, "The Last Rites of Ransom Pride"
tries to distinguish itself as a Western that seems to challenge just
about every convention that Westerns used to stand for.
The question is, is that really a good idea? The plot, in a nutshell, is as follows: a woman (Juliette Flowers) is trying to recover the body of her deceased lover (Ransom Pride) from a malformed mystic, who will turn the body over, as long as she gets in return the brother (Champ Pride) of the deceased lover.
We really don't know why Champ is important to the mystic...or even why she's holding the body of Ransom Pride in the first place...although we are given a rather difficult to follow explanation in the end if you make it that far. If anything, the explanation makes events that happen in the film seem even more unusual!
Just as unusual is the idea that Champ's Father Early (Dwight Yoakam) hates Champ for what happened to his wife, who died when Champ was born. In fact, he makes a pilgrimage to recover both Champ AND Ransom's body from the mystic...after he discovered that Juliette was planning on trading Champ for Ransom's body.
Naturally he holds a grudge against Juliette, who he blames for Ransom's death, and suckering Champ into servitude, so he plans to kill her...until he is shot dead...by Champ!
This film is plagued by several factors, among them:
- Unusual action edits which, after an action scene takes place, are for some reason reversed and choppy.
- A strange assortment of characters, including the mystic (who looks more like a Voodoo practitioner than a Native American or Mexican priestess), a little person, a drunken black veteran of the Civil War (I think) and pot smoking siamese twins.
- Other scenes, which don't seem to make any sense at all, except if you consider them in the film to expand on the running time.
I'd put the running time of the film officially at around 80 minutes...but if you were to trim out the scenes that make no sense and those strange rewinding segments, I suspect you'd cut that down to between 50-60 minutes!
Jon Foster is absolutely gorgeous in the film...and Scott Speedman and Lizzy Caplan aren't terrible to look at. It's just a little eye candy, but it's no where near enough to save THIS film!
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