Tonto, the Lone Ranger…and Feng Shui

Tonto After every death, and there are many in this season’s The Lone Ranger, Johnny Dep’s Tonto places a feather, a few pebbles, or a twig on the dead stranger before he is buried.  He also drives his companions and foes to near madness by constantly attempting to feed the long-dead crow on his head.

Why?  The answer is the running theme of the movie—that nature is out of balance, from a scorpion-eating horse to rapacious men who murder whole Indian villages to keep nearby silver deposits a secret.

You may see this movie as Johnny Dep’s latest deeply interesting and wildly quirky take on a classic pop culture icon—I see it as a movie about Feng Shui (of-course I do!)

White capitalists who devour both human and mineral resources to stamp their vision on the new century, lack the balance of compassion and ethics in this version of The Lone Ranger (perhaps the reason that so many critics—and the studios that fund them–panned this visually stunning and thought provoking film??)

Their greed and corruption is symbolized by the relentless progress of the railroad that subdues the aboriginal American landscape captured in every stunning shot by cinematographer extraordinaire Bojan Bazelli.

Initially, the landscape is abounding with buffalo and Indian tribes who fight their oppressors.   With each iron stake driven into the ground, more buffaloes disappear, more Indians are massacred, and the Lone Ranger’s naïve belief in justice and the American way is further tarnished.  The natural world is out of balance, Tonto observes yet again as he feeds cannibalistic rabbits a haunch from a roasted rabbit on a spit.

And as Dep’s always quirky humor draws belly laughs from the audience, his Tonto attempts to bring his own brutalized life back into harmony with a funny yet heartbreaking effort to nurture his dead crow, the stark symbol of his murdered tribe, and by small death rituals for those hapless men who are sacrificed to America’s manifest destiny.

Yet, near the end of the movie, Tonto pulls the rug from under the Lone Ranger’s optimistic “Hi ho Silver!”  Ultimately, justice—and Feng Shui harmony—isn’t possible in a country where “good man must wear mask.”    —  Gabriele Amersbach, Lucky Path Feng Shui

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