‘Tommy the Kid’: An Aussie Western … on Bikes!

So, is the Western back? We’re not sure yet. 3:10 to Yuma did okay box office and got respectable reviews last weekend. Next week sees the release of the harder-to-sell, though possibly even more critically beloved Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. And the New York Film Festival later this month will be featuring the Coen Brothers’ much-beloved neo-Western No Country for Old Men. So we here at the Vulture Picture Palace have decided to do our part as well by offering Aussie director Stuart Clegg’s sweet little short Tommy the Kid, which played at Tribeca and the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. (What is it with the Aussies and Westerns, anyway?)

Of course, with bikes instead of horses, this is technically not a Western — but then again neither is High Noon if you ask some people. Still, watch closely: Its good-natured story of karmic small-town justice has more in common with old-fashioned cowboy movies than you might think. And, frankly, we like the way this guy Clegg shoots his landscapes. Someone give this man some real guns and stagecoaches and let’s see what he can do. —Bilge Ebiri

Part two: