Things I Learned From Movie X: Jonah Hex

By Edwin Davies

April 20, 2011

This takes 4 of the 82 minutes!

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Released on the same day as eventual highest-grossing movie of 2010 Toy Story 3, the comic book adaptation Jonah Hex proved to be the little film that couldn't, as it burned brightly...well... burned softly...erm...sputtered briefly then was snuffed out by the fickle whims of the marketplace. It learned the hard way that people just aren't ready for a supernatural steampunk Western whose main character is horribly disfigured and can talk to the dead, and until the roulette wheel that is popular culture falls upon that particular niche as its new sensation, Jonah Hex's time is still some ways away.

Yet, like the works of Franz Kafka, Jonah Hex may yet see its day in the sun as future generations discover it and marvel at its bold, unconventional approach to the basic tenets of film-making, characterization and storytelling. So, like Max Brod before me, I will keep this valuable work from the flames of obscurity and impart unto you the secrets of Jonah Hex.




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Starring past Oscar-nominee Josh Brolin and future Oscar-winner Megan Fox (Prove me wrong universe, prove me wrong. (Don't worry, everyone, this is a clever bluff on my part to taunt the universe into making sure that Megan Fox never, ever wins an Oscar. (And this disclaimer is my way of ensuring that, if the universe reads the first disclaimer and decides that it is going to give Megan Fox an Oscar after all, I can claim that it was a double-bluff and I knew she was going to win one all along. Stupid universe, bound by its own flawless logic. (Oh God, I can't remember which pair of parentheses I'm in anymore. Someone send Cobb to get me out!)))), Jonah Hex tells the story of the titular bounty hunter, a man who watches as John Malkovich - playing the part of "John Malkovich In A Silly Wig" - kills his whole family as revenge for Jonah, whilst part of a Confederate platoon commanded by Malkovich In A Silly Wig, betraying his compatriots and killing Malkovich In A Silly Wig's son because Jonah refused to go along with their plan to burn down a hospital. Way to be a team player, Hex! After being hideously disfigured by Malkovich In A Silly Wig and his creative use of a branding iron, Jonah sets his sights on revenge of his own, and is helped by Megan Fox's whore with a heart of gold.

At least, that's what it is supposedly about, but everything is shot to look so dark and murky that it is almost impossible to tell what is going on. Though many of the early scenes of the film - including a notably crazy sequence in which Jonah blows up a whole town using a horse with dual gatling guns placed on either side of its head - take place in the daylight, the plot requires Jonah to spend a lot of the later scenes sneaking into Malkovich In A Silly Wig's compounds and hideouts. Since he's not very good at that - to be fair to him, even Ethan Hunt would have problems conducting espionage if half his face was burnt off - fights ensue, most of which take place at night. Whenever these fights break out, they turn the film into a work of performance art in which the audience stares at a black, shimmering screen whilst an audio book of the comic plays in the background.


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