By the time Hobo With A Shotgun was originally released in the spring of 2010, I had been following the festival buzz for most of that winter. The reviews coming out of Sundance, South By Southwest etc. were ecstatic, even from publications such as Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. When I finally got to see it, Shotgun blew me away.
Jason Eisener won the Canadian filmmaking lottery with this film. After winning the Grindhouse trailer contest with the 2-minute version of his idea, he got feature film funding from Telefilm. Then he got the freedom to make the movie as outrageous and uncompromising as he wanted. Then he received a country-wide release from Alliance Films. The result is gloriously badass, an instant grindhouse classic.
Make no mistake, you've never seen anything like this before come out of Canada before, not even in the tax shelter days from which Cronenberg got his start. Hobo With A Shotgun is not perfect - some scenes drag on too long, the shock value occasionally feels forced, the story is minimal - but it's a fully realized vision, made with tremendous passion, wit and creativity. Eisener turned Dartmouth into his own personal neon-drenched Sin City hellhole, and it's a blast.
Eisner's motto was More Blood, More Heart. Love it or hate it, it's as if someone put a gun to Jason's head and told him "you've only got one shot at this, so put everything you love about genre cinema into this movie, don't censor yourself, you have free reign." You can feel in every frame the same can-do spirit as El Mariachi, Evil Dead and Bad Taste. Those movies weren't perfect either, but the directors went on to make Sin City, Spider-Man, Lord Of The Rings, and you could feel that they had that enormous potential from the beginning. Same thing with Jason.
Canadian films like Hobo With A Shotgun give me hope to keep making my own genre films within this country, with the extremely talented casts and crews that I love to work with, and maybe even with some Canadian funding if I'm fortunate enough.
However, movies like this won't get funded and released in Canada if nobody sees them. So seek it out on Canada Screens, and enjoy one the most wildly uninhibited Canadian genre films ever made.