Home / Entertainment / S. Craig Zahler does not care what you think about his films

S. Craig Zahler does not care what you think about his films

S. Craig Zahler does not care if you do not like his new movie.

That's a relief, because many of you will not do it. Like the previous films by Zahler, Brawl in Cell Block 99 and Bone Tomahawk Trailed by Concrete is a fifth of the genus Rotgut, a painful and corrosive journey to hell. interrupted by cramps of extreme violence. The title is a warning. The running time of 159 minutes is another warning. Add to that the casting of Mel Gibson, who is in many circles a Persona grata non grata, and a fixed percentage of the audience does not get beyond the right-hand column of the Wikipedia page of the movie. And this is before the dispute with Zahler's policies, which may be much more difficult than his toughest critics, but nonetheless Grandpa's notions of police brutality, racial tensions, the plague in inner cities, and other issues that may possibly go up in the air Facebook site. Even for those who can withstand payer's work, which can be as challenging in their unusual longueurs as they are in their shocks, a film like Dragged Across Concrete is controversial, especially if it is not ideological are wavelength.

But from another angle: how often are American viewers confronted with a film that does not need to be liked? With nine-digit budgets, Hollywood literally can not afford to make films that are not for everyone, and a streaming service like Netflix actively gathers data about what its subscribers like, and makes creative notes based on that algorithm. A large studio in the late '60s and' 70s might have produced something like Dragged Across Concrete a hardened thriller about two desperate police officers (Gibson and Vince Vaughn) who use a six-week suspension to plot a raid on one raid. Payer's style is a setback to relentless genre specialists like Don Siegel or Sam Peckinpah, who worked in a system more focused on keeping small profits from modest budgets. All three of Zahler's films were banned into the no-man's land of day and date publishing and shown on a tiny number of screens, with most of their money being spent on renting home videos. There is no room for them in monoculture: if payer was not such a unique, dangerous talent, nobody would talk about them.

This topic came up again and again in my conversation with Zahler. He imagines a studio would like a version of Dragged Across Concrete that's an hour shorter, but it would have to run faster so people would not get bored. "Some people are bored," he says. "That's good, but that's not what the studios want to hear." And he refutes the suggestion that he could be misunderstood or that his critics miss something, and they bring their own interest and point of view into his films, he emphasizes, and they are not wrong. "Of course, I do not make films or write books and do all these things to get popular or people like me," says Payer. "I hope people like them, but I will not make any other creative choices so more of them do one. "

Not that he is particularly respectful in this mind you." If you come into a movie and focus on one thing – as if you are very interested in how people of this ethnic origin or people with this belief system or women or children or people from Canada are treated in this film … that is your point of view, "says Zahl he. "And you have a right to it. If it's most important to you to get out of the movie experience, to see a reflection of your personal beliefs, you probably will not get this on any of my films because they do not even consistently deal with . "

Take an Early Scene Dragged Across Concrete in which the partners Brett Ridgeman (Gibson) and Anthony Lurasetti (Vaughn) meet at a meeting with their supervisor, Lt. Calvert (Don Johnson), after you've made a tough collar at a drug dealer. On the fire escape in front of the suspect's apartment, Ridgeman had caught the man attempting to escape and squeezed him down the back with a boot – an incident recorded in the video that was to be aired in the evening news. Calvert wants to expose a six-week police brutality with both badges, although the feeling in the room – and, frankly, behind the camera – is that the perceived offense is mostly nonsense. What Ridgeman did was not that was bad, the men seem to agree, and it is typically politically correct that the officers are considered more gloomy than a cheap dealer who pumps poison into the street and into the schools.

It's possible to read the scene simply as a radiation of white discomfort – Calvert whines about what a racist is called in the '00s is like calling a communist in the' 50s – but he's also ambiguous loaded. Ridgeman and Lurasetti were previously struggling and casually handing down their weapons and badges to make it feel routine, like suspensions in the flow of the workday. When Calvert receives Ridgeman alone, he reminds him that once they were partners. There is a reason why he is the one sitting behind the large desk in the corner office and Ridgeman is cowering for hours on fire escapes. "I've watched the video a few times," he warns Ridgeman. "You threw a lot more cast iron than you need. When we worked together, you were not so rude.

There are many opportunities to read towed concrete constructions as a rectangular screed, but it is not always self-aligned. Sometimes a few middle-aged policemen clinging to each other behind closed doors, just as they sound in real life.

Zahler has developed into a highly-developed genre filmmaker and author who does a lot in addition to heavy metal composition – he has shot all three of his films – but he considers himself a child of Fangoria . "(In fact, Zahler is part of the revived Fangoria staff purchased by the Dallas-based Cinestate, the same company that produces his films.) After earning his first VCR at the age of 13, the 46-year-old director recalls To the horror section of Videos R Us in Kendall, Miami This is basically a dense suburb destruction, far from the slender Art Deco of South Beach. (Videos R Us had to change his name to Videos 4 U when a prominent toy store complained.) The young payer was not yet an esthete: "The more violent and strict, the better," he says, "perhaps no surprise to anyone who

In Payer's narrative, he went back to the Cinephilia, these shells full of beating and dismemberment finally bringing forth the gems of Sam Raimi, George Romero and Tobe Hooper, and a long obsession with Japanese culture and animation led him to Akira Kurosawa: After getting a video camera at age 14 or 15, Payer's home-made shorts at his high school were quickly banned ("People cut their throats and crushed their heads," he says.) Apparently, this is very early started for me. ") He hired directors like Peckinpah and plundered the horror and imagination of HP Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs and finally the thrillers of Jim Thompson. His early maturity eventually earned him a place in NYU's film program, but without a clear path to making the kind of films he wanted to finish his studies.

It took more than a decade for payer to finally get a chance to make Bone Tomahawk but there was no shortage of attempts. He was (and is) an amazingly prolific writer, with more than 20 scripts, many in various turnaround conditions, but only two have ever made it to production – one is a Belgian horror film from 2011, the [19459037 and the other is the last puppet master (19459005) from last year: The Littlest Reich a horror comedy about Nazi puppets, which is in bad taste. (In a typical scene, our heroes try to lure these anti-Semitic monsters out of the hiding place by lighting a Menorah.) His name was tied to one non-lone project after another, including an ultra-heavy Western, The Brigants of Rattleborge which established the prestigious Blacklist in 2006 and is now reportedly revived by Korean director Park Chan-wook.

While writing screenplays, Zahler and his friend Jeff Harriott released three heavy metal albums as one half of Realmbuilder, playing drums and writing songwriting for the Black Metal band Charnel Valley. Carefully described, these bands are an extension of payer's interest in dark fantasy and world education, with ominous song titles such as Advance of the War Giants, The Beast of the Thousand Bones, and Carry Your Bodies to Horizon. In the past nine years he also wrote five novels, beginning with the sinister Western Horror A Congregation of Jackals in 2010 and Wraiths of the Broken Land in 2013 before moving on to Corpus Chrome, Inc. and the hardened crime novels of Mean Business on North Ganson Street in 2014. His latest book Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child focuses on a malformed orphan with curved eyes. wild white tufts of hair and such a piercing cry that it is isolated from the other residents in Johnstone's house for the unwanted. From there it gets much darker.

Payer's aggression and creative restlessness even manifest in our interview. He is currently working on his first graphic novel, which he estimates will take six to ten hours, and if he "siphons off" the two hours in the press, he would have been left alone at the end of the day. The quality that makes up most of his films may be the willingness to take their time, aside from their extreme violence. The Logline of Bone Tomahawk is pretty simple: a sheriff from the 1890s (Kurt Russell) and a posse collapses into a rugged, god-fearing terrain to save two humans from a clan of caveman cannibals , However, it takes over 132 minutes and carefully outlines the relationships between the persecuted men as they delve into novel details, such as a conversation about the impossible logistics of reading in the bath or the reasons why a bar pianist pays three cents for a song and a full requires Dime for Three. His [

] sequel, Brawl in Cell Block 99 is more pulp in slow motion, a two-pronged prison thriller about a work-type named Bradley Thomas who loses his job as a tow truck driver and his work as Drug corn for local lowlifes starts. When he is detained, his former employees kidnap his pregnant wife (Jennifer Carpenter) and order him to assassinate an inmate who happens to be living in the worst area of ​​the worst possible prison. He has to mutilate several guards and inmates just to be demoted enough to do the job. Again, payer pulls a 90-minute commercial into a 132-minute descent to hell because he wants to undergo the difficult decisions and consequences that Bradley faces and is hung up on these evocative details. For example, before the blackmail plan begins, payer gives a comprehensive overview of the life of a new inmate in a medium-security prison, from processing to orientation. It is mesmerizing and defiant to genre norms.

"For me, that's a very good use of the movie," says Zahler, who did his research on a friend who works on Rikers Island. "It not only tells you a story, but brings you into this room. I had not seen a movie in which I had experienced how to give up his belongings. Now these guys are checking you out. Now this person is your guidance counselor. Now this person is your work resource manager. All that you experience with the character, and I think it's really a reason for the movie, especially how stylized and baroque the later part of the movie becomes.

In the run-up to the bank robbery in Drawn over the concrete Payer stops the film cold again and stages a small one-act drama about an employee whose role in the larger story is so insignificant that 99 Percent of the other filmmakers would have been awarded a contract for the role. Instead, it increases the stakes of Ridgeman and Lurasetti and the responsibility of a third main character, Henry Johns (Tory Kittles), an ex-con, who turns to the robbery for the same reasons. But payer also goes into boredom and speaks easily of Ridgeman and Lurasetti in a stakeout. A full minute is dedicated to Lurasetti, who eats a sandwich as delicious as Adèle Exarchopoulos devours spaghetti in . Blue is the warmest color.

"If you expand and then add to all these different situations, then continue to elaborate and execute those elaborations," says Zahler, "you get a sense of all these pre-existing relationships and complexity relationships. So many conversations have been devoted to the violent aspects of my paintings So it's just as important, if not more important. You can understand these people better than a scene of slaughter and violence. "

There is not much slaughter. In its own right, the extraordinary property, which has been left to the minutia of attitude and achievement, is a primer for a generous allotment of gruesome bloodshed at the back. Bone Tomahawk is a western that literally takes the old-fashioned characterization of Native Americans as "savages" by separating a primitive clan from "troglodytes" from humanity. (Zahn McClarnon emerges as a native Native American who dictates the direction of the posse, but makes it absolutely clear that these cannibals must not be confused with a tribe.) The film leads in recent (and so recent) memory, one that It is safe to split even strong-minded viewers in the middle. (Those who have seen Bone Tomahawk will moan at the pun.)

Nothing in Brawl in Cell Block 99 has a very special impact as a result of prison toilets facing Bradley As he walks down the ladder, Payer has a yen for skinned knuckles and faces that give way like soft clay. Dragged Across Concrete trades hand in hand with the pyrotechnics of assault weapons and armored delivery vans, relishing the tensions and tactics of prolonged shooting. The absolute evil is a presence in all three films – these men, despite their shortcomings, face the forces of the imposing and almost inhuman darkness – and payer is committed to doing everything possible to dispel this evil. This child of Fangoria will deliver for this audience each time, even if repellent non-subscribers could find it, but bloody Juvenilia for herself is never the target. Although it is probably a destination.

It should be understood that getting to know these characters intensifies the effect and makes it possible to perform titanic lead performances by Russell, Vaughn and Gibson, whose work as a weakened veteran seething with anger and regret is a classic example for turning in the curve. The process of understanding men like Ridgeman and Lurasetti in his own way can be just as ugly as any of Payer's explicit bloodshed. This is both a virtue and a fixed point, depending on your point of view, and it returns to politics and attitudes that are closer than ever to the surface of his work.

"I'm not looking for films expressing values," says Zahler. "This is dangerously approaching an 'agenda movie,' which is a film in support of his thesis My characters drive my films." But Dragcross Across Concrete reveals that this is not an either or a proposal A character-driven movie can also express values ​​and Payer undoubtedly does this despite his caginess When Ridgeman's daughter suffers her fifth raid and his wife speaks of not being racist until she turns into a bad one However, he works overtime to delineate the moral distance between Ridgeman and Lurasetti, suggesting that the younger policeman has not yet fallen into toxic prejudice.

These are the Contradictions that underpin payer's films He would be the first to say it's up to you, whether you're with them

Scott Tobias is a freelance film and television writer from Chicago. His work appeared in The New York Times The Washington Post NPR, Vulture Variety and other publications.

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