The main thing I’ve heard about this movie is that it’s extremely reactionary. That’s not far from the truth, but just so there is no mistaking my critique for political posturing, let’s get this out of the way:
It’s a boring movie. you should not shoot two hours of conversation when you can’t even write stimulating dialogue. The stuff characters say in this movie made me laugh. Except when they were joking. This is the epitome of what-a-dumb-guy-thinks-is-smart filmmaking.
Many have praised Zahler’s directing, but I don’t see why. Shot composition here is decent, but rarely does a shot contain anything of interest. The lighting is somehow blown out in most every scene, which makes it look like a hallmark movie, or a geico commercial. Is the bar really so low?
The emotional stakes are incredibly contrived and uninteresting. The wit feels aimed solely at aggrieved middle-aged whites. It feels like if Clint Eastwood wrote The Hateful Eight. It feels like a Shane Black movie for men who bring an assault rifle on their trip to walmart. It feels like Michael Mann for 8chan. Unfavorable comparisons constantly came to mind while watching this because it is a painfully inert work of unmotivated pastiche.
I didn’t intend to go in on this movie so hard, but I really did not find much to like (though I was pleasantly surprised by a few unexpected scenarios in the third act). I think ultimately politics are the least of Zahler’s problems as a filmmaker.