Starring Dermot Mulroney, Natasha Lyonne
It was very curious that the introduction, the producer and even writer/director Calvin Reeder couldn’t describe to the audience at SXSW exactly what The Rambler was about. Dermot Mulroney, usually known for his supporting actor roles in films like My Best Friends Wedding or The Grey, takes on the full reins in this film that walks a dodgy line between horror and comedy. The Rambler seems to owe it’s personality to films like Hobo With a Shotgun or maybe even Peter Jackson’s early work. There is dismemberment, vomit and bile splattering, all to which Dermot’s Clint Eastwood-like character doesn’t seem to be phased by.
Recently released from prison, a man known only as The Rambler (Mulroney) begins his journey across the Midwest to take shelter with his domesticated brother and his family. Picked up by his old girlfriend Cheryl (Natasha Lyonne), he first slips back into his old life, including a job at a rundown pawn shop where his high strung, overweight, hillbilly boss tells him, “You know you’re an a**hole, a grown up a**hole,” to which he sets out on his journey. Thumbing his way along, he encounters people from nightmares including a doctor with a device that records dreams onto VHS (except all his patients’ heads explode before they have a chance to dream).
Mulroney doesn’t say or do very much in this character besides look pissed off the entire time.
The Rambler may not be a good movie, but it certainly isn’t boring. Every place The Rambler visits is stranger than the last, and each character more twisted. Mulroney doesn’t say or do very much in this character besides look pissed off the entire time, but that seems to be the exact requirement needed for all the strangeness going on around him. It would be like putting Clint Eastwood in the middle of Evil Dead. Speaking of Evil Dead, there are similar bloody moments but this film has more humor to it.
It’s a road trip movie without the car, but don’t expect the trip to really go anywhere. Everything and nothing happens in this script, and just when you think the director has conjured up the wildest things he can imagine, a monster or character like you haven’t seen before just shows up. Most of the situations in the film are not explained and are just there for shock value or because Reeder thinks it’s funny or ironic. Most audiences won’t endure the irony because most of us want a little more sense out of our films.
An interesting mix of comedy, horror and irony.