I got this email earlier in April: “TriCoast would like to offer Ramblin’ with Roger a review of the western mockumentary, ‘Tombstone Rashomon’, directed by Alex Cox (Repo Man, Sid & Nancy).” I said yes. I waited a week, then wrote to the other rep in the email, who apologized and gave me the access key.
By then, I was busy. Still, I promised to review it, so I watched it yesterday. First off, inherently I love Rashomon constructs, based on the classic 1951 film. We do so often have eyewitness accounts that vary wildly in detail.
Surprise! The film actually shows up on the IMDB, with a release date of 2017. Alex Cox had started this project on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.
From one review: “The opening text of Tombstone Rashomon tells the audience about a time-traveling camera crew who went back in time and accidentally got to Tombstone the day after the notorious gunfight,” i.e. October 28, 1881. We’re left with supposed eyewitness accounts. “This firmly tells the audience that… there’s going to be a little fun had with the story…”
No in-world consistency
Another reviewer admitted, “It might not make sense, but it might also be the best thing I’ve ever seen in any movie ever. I just don’t know.”
For instance, the “Hungarian born Mary Katherine Horony-Cummings, here simply known as Kate (Christine Doidge) assign the incorrect gender pronouns to the men she talks about.” This is apparently accurate, but it’s either funny or tiresome, or, for me, a bit of both.
More on target was the bit when the off-screen narrator asks Wyatt Earp to “Hold the book to your breast for a longer moment.” Later, Doc Halliday’s tale is interrupted in a manner consistent with what we historically know about the man.
Here are the two Rotten Tomatoes reviews. I agree with both of them.
“As a link to Rashomon, it doesn’t work because there have been so many mockumentaries throughout cinema that it feels like the attempt to link the two is yet another attempt to suggest the filmmakers are cleverer than they really are.”
“That’s the beauty of Tombstone Rashomon: despite having almost no budget, no stars, and no in-world consistency, it’s aggressively not content to fit into any one descriptor. It’s a faux-documentary-western-science-fiction-time-travel-homage.”
For those of you, like me, who isn’t greatly fond of bloodshed, for all the gunplay, it’s quite tame in this department.
“TriCoast Entertainment will release ‘Tombstone Rashomon’ onto DVD in store and online April 21st (Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Deep Discount DVD, DVD Planet, CC Video and more). Pre-order on Amazon.”