Chances are you haven’t quite seen something quite like this. The poster said all guns, no control which pretty much summed this up. When you throw an impressive cast into a room full of guns and fill it with a 70s soundtrack, only good things can happen.
Synopsis: Justine has brokered a meeting in a deserted warehouse between two Irishmen and a gang led by Vernon and Ord who are selling them a stash of guns. But when shots are fired in the handover, a heart stopping game of survival ensues. (Elevation Pictures)
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, and Brie Larson
Writers: Amy Jump and Ben Wheatley
Director: Ben Wheatley
Running Time: 90mins
If you’ve seen any of the trailers, then you’ve probably gotten the gist of the film and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Clocking in at 90 minutes, this film doesn’t try to do too much and was all the better for it. To fully enjoy this, one must turn off their brain. If there was one word to describe this film, it would be a cartoon (an adult cartoon). The film was about a pair of gangs in 1970s Boston participating in a weapons sale that quickly escalated into a gun battle between both parties once things went wrong.
That was pretty much it but there was still a lot to be had here. One of the film’s redeeming qualities was that its style and tone was very reminiscent of the great crime films of the 90s such as Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction. It’s just as over the top as those films with its story and characters but things never seemed to get out of hand. Most of the characters were over, bordering on cartoonish, but they still had a surprising amount of depth to them and avoided being caricatures.
The story wasn’t treated with as much restraint but was understandable. Because of the nature of the story, if you can call it that, it was easy to lose track of what was actually going on while characters were shooting at one another as one character aptly pointed out this fact. Going back to its mindless, cartoonish nature, this was fine as it was very entertaining watching the personalities clash. The problem with taking this route would be that some may find it repetitive and be bored, waiting for a story (but those wanting a story wouldn’t probably be watching this in the first place).
The action was both fast and furious. Although the action was just shooting, what kept it interesting and engaging to watch was the inventive camerawork with many different shots and angles to change things up. While the bullets being fired didn’t always hit, the snappy dialogue did. The writing was definitely the best part of the film. Continuing with the film’s cartoonish characters, they not only sparred with bullets but also sparred with words, reciting hilarious quips and one-liners to one another with the best being the character of Vernon (Copley).
The acting was what you would expect considering the rest of the film. The performances of these cartoonish characters were great across the board. It looked like the actors were having fun here so it was easy to have fun with them. All the actors had great chemistry, making them very compelling to watch and easy to forget that the bulk of the film took place in a warehouse. The film had an excellent cast but as mentioned, the most notable was Copley. For the few who don’t know, Copley has a pretty distinctive accent which only aided his performance, leading him to steal most, if not all, the scenes he was in.
Overall, this was an original and inventive, well-shot action comedy featuring a witty script elevated by great performances by its impressive cast. While those looking for anything of substance may be disappointed, there was plenty of entertainment to be had.
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