Our Hospitality

Written by Michael Clawson

90/100

Buster takes a rinky-dink train from his modest rural homestead to see to his late father’s estate, but falls for a girl along the way who turns out to be from the now-wealthy family that his own family has feuded with for generations. When they catch wind of Buster’s arrival in town, the gal’s father and brothers set out to kill him, but refuse to pull the trigger when he’s in their house, as that’s not how hospitable southern gentlemen behave. A comedy of manners and narrowly avoided attempted murder, it satirizes the senselessness of hostility between people who’ve held a grudge for so long they couldn’t even tell you what they were mad about to begin with anymore, and the silliness of where and when social niceties are expected.

The bigger laughs and excitement come as the brothers go to ridiculous lengths to see Buster dead, chasing him into increasingly precarious situations and eventually to a waterfall‘s edge where he pulls an insane, proto-Ethan Hunt style rescue stunt to save his sweetheart. But the lead up to that astounding action-comedy crescendo is plenty charming. The bumpy ride through the mountains is a hoot, such as when the train fits neatly through a tunnel like a Tetris piece moving into place, or when the camera lingers on the various people and animals (memorably, a donkey) that the train passes, building out our sense of a world beyond the frame. I do wish we got a spin-off where we followed the random fellow throwing rocks at the train conductor because I have no idea what that was about(but I was very amused).

Our Hospitality Trailer

Our Hospitality is currently streaming on Kanopy.

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