Review

Everyone has been in those situations where you and your friends are sitting around talking about crazy movie ideas that would never get made (and as the night goes on, those ideas become crazier).  Imagine your Kevin Smith, and have not only the finances to get the movie made, but some actual storytelling abilities.  Tusk is what becomes of those crazy movie ideas between friends.  What started out as a funny idea on Smith’s podcast has turned into the movie now playing in theaters, and it’s unlike anything you’ve seen in theaters.  That’s two things Tusk has going for it.  It has Kevin Smith having fun again making movies and doing what every film nerd only talks about, and the element of its uniqueness.  Tusk is not necessarily a great film, but it will leave you bewildered beyond your wildest dreams.

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Justin Long
stars as Wallace Bryton, a podcaster from New Jersey, who with friend Teddy Craft (Haley Joel Osment) run a podcast in which Wallace interviews strange people around the world, and he and Teddy talk about the interview in their studio.  Wallace always travels alone as Teddy is afraid to fly.  After an interview in Canada falls through, Wallace stumbles across a letter by Howard Howe (Michael Parks) offering the wildest stories of his adventures on the ocean, and an offer for a room to rent.  Wallace jumps at the chance to salvage his trip to Canada and decides to go and talk to Howard at his house.  As one could imagine, this is where things get weird.

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At times, Tusk is a hilarious film.  The main problem was the forced horror aspects, that just didn’t work but had their own twisted comedic touches.  Besides the scenes that will leave a grotesque scar in your brain, what impacted me most was the comedy aspects of the film.  It reminded me that Smith is a genuinely good writer and when he has control of the production, has his own distinct comedic sensibilities.  I wish Smith made a straight-up comedy like he’d done so many times in the past, but I can appreciate his desire to grow as a filmmaker.  You can tell that Smith is having fun and is already into filming the spin-off and second of what is being called the True North Trilogy.  The spin-off will be called Yoga-Hosers and will star Lily-Rose Depp (Johnny Depp’s daughter) and Harley Quinn Smith (Kevin Smith’s daughter) who portrayed two store clerks in Tusk.  I’m excited Smith is getting back into what seems to be his groove, Tusk just wasn’t exactly for me.

Tusk is an extremely polarizing film and Smith’s most creative in quite some time.  It’s not a bad film, just incredibly strange.  It would be hard to get a second view out of Tusk, but throughout my initial viewing I was laughing and at the same time excitably anticipating what would happen next.  Again, I applaud the effort and know that half the people who see the film will love it, and the other half genuinely disturbed.  I had extremely mixed emotions from the film and still aren’t sure how I feel about the movie.  In a way it’s extremely successful because it has stayed with me, but then again, terrible films can still leave their mark.

Tusk Movie (3)Kevin Smith has done an excellent job getting people excited to see this movie and has created a good amount of buzz.  I was a ultimately underwhelmed, and not sure if I was expecting something greater.  Tusk is all over the place in terms of tone, and ultimately left me wanting something different.  Again, I applaud Smith in actually following through and making this movie, but I’ll be more excited when he returns to the full-formed comedy.  Tusk will leave most confused or disgusted, while others will get a kick out of Smith’s openly silly idea.  I liked how Smith shot the film, placing objects in the center of the screen (like a Kubrick movie), but in the end it wasn’t satisfying to the degree I was expecting.

Tusk Movie (2)Tusk is not your typical film, and those of you looking to see a movie unlike any other, Tusk may be for you.  It’s not perfect, or even great, but it is unique.  Tusk is now playing in select theaters, and should be expanding to more as the weeks go on.



About the Author

Peter Towe
Peter Towe
A graduate of UMASS Boston, I have successfully put off getting a "real" job, and continue to watch, produce, review, and obsess over movies. I lived in Boston while I completed my degree, and now live in Chicago trying the improv thing.