I sat down to watch “Tusk” having no clue what to expect. The plot seemed to suggest that Michael Parks wanted to turn Justin Long in to a Walrus. This seemed dark and funny to me. The film is written and directed by Kevin Smith who seems to be firmly on the path of demented thrillers with this and his previous film “Red State”. Nothing can truly prepare you for what happens in this film. I don’t know if I liked it or hated it but I can tell you I will not forget it any time soon.
Justin Long plays Wallace, a fairly popular podcaster who heads to Canada looking for offbeat stories for his show. He gets way, way more than he bargained for when he responds to a carefully written letter in a bar bathroom. The letter promises a lifetime of intriguing stories. Eventually we arrive at the home of Howard Howe, played by Michael Parks. Right away there is something unsettling about this character. Their first conversation goes on for a while and is quite intriguing. There is a weird air of tension between the characters that is masked by Wallace’s blunt offensiveness and Howards proper but menacing mannerisms.
Eventually Wallace wakes up to find he is tied to a wheel chair and missing his leg. Howard comically tries to explain how it happened but can barely contain his own laughter at how pathetic the story is. Eventually we learn that Howard become friends with a Walrus while lost at sea. His demented plan should be getting clearer by now. The results have to be seen to be believed. The flip side is that they cannot be taken out of your memories so if grotesque insanity turns your stomach than I suggest you avoid this at all costs. The weirdness does not stop there though.
When Wallace stops checking in we find that his girlfriend and his fellow podcaster travel to Canada to search for him. They come in to contact with Guy Lapointe, a French detective played by Johnny Depp. Yes you read that right. Depp gives a performance that had me in stitches. This is easily his funniest performance in years. It seems to exist in a totally different film though as he tells quirky stories in a French accent while wearing a ridiculous mustache and beret.
I know that my description is hard to follow but that is how this movie is. It is nuts! Is it worth watching though? That’s the question I cannot answer. I can say I have not seen anything like it but I will probably also never watch it again.