Leicester Square echoed with the chords of the William Tell Overture last night as The Lone Ranger galloped in for its UK premiere. Johnny Depp, proving himself no man's sidekick, worked the red carpet with his usual blend of shattering cool and laconic charisma, while Armie Hammer, in a lurid jacket seemingly designed to ward off passing vultures, did likewise.
Also in attendance were director Gore Verbinski, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and cast members Ruth Wilson, Harry Treadaway, Tom Wilkinson and, yes, Silver the horse. Click below to watch them turn the West End into a piece of the Old West.
Word of mouth from Stateside may be mixed at best, but we're advising you to forget everything you might have heard about Verbinski's latest. If you like Westerns, genuinely dynamic action sequences and rabbits with inexplicably nibbly teeth, it's an unalloyed (if gosh-darn long) pleasure that showcases its director's mastery of massive-canvas action and makes a point of honouring the dusty bootprints that came before it. It's also unusual amongst the Bruckheimer oeuvre for feeling a little bit like it's been at the peyote (see the bit about the vampire rabbits).
"It's an origin tale," explained Verbinski in his best it's-not-really-an-origin-story voice, "but told from this idea of the apprentice-master relationship. Originally Tonto was the sidekick but we've taken that and said, 'the sidekick created the master'." Added Tonto himself, Depp, of his character: "I loved him as a kid and was somewhat confused as to why he was considered as the Lone Ranger's sidekick."