by Jason Whyte
Here's a movie that is bold, exciting, funny, sexy, bloody, profane and a rip-roaring time, and the kind of which that is forgotten these days: with NO visual effects or CGI. "The Way of the Gun," directed and written by Christopher McQuarrie (he penned the Oscar winning script of "The Usual Suspects") is pure 70's filmmaking that owes a lot to the Sam Peckinpah films of yesteryear. It's all plot. It's all character, baby. And it has attitude and wit to spare.It comes out at a time where films are normally rejects of the summer, and while there truly are some now that fit into that category, I found nothing of the sort to be here. There are stretch of moments besides swearing and gunplay, where the characters talk, interact and we breath along with them. Some call that boring. I call it character development.
"Violent, bloody and a blast. And don't forget a Sarah Silverman cameo!"
The film opens with a sort of standard character introduction in a scene that has nothing to do with the film. We meet our two protagonists, Parker and Longbaugh (Ryan Phillipe and Benicio Del Toro) who are criminals, as always, looking for a big score. They find it in a situation where a pregnant, suggorgate mother (Juliette Lewis) can be kidnapped and held for ransom. The baby's father Hale Chidduk (Scott Wilson) has so much money that he would most likely throw it all at the kidnappers.
But there's more to it than meets the eye, it seems that Chidduk's ties have deep criminal backgrounds, involving his main man Joe Sarno (James Caan), some bodyguards (Nicky Katt and Taye Diggs), even the wife to Chidduk, a dame named Francesca (Kristin Lehman from "Dog Park"), who has some plans of her own. Or does she?
Not only is this great Peckinpah territory, but even a dash of Hitchcock here and there, with some shots that suggest that something may or may not be what it is. To cite an example, there is a dazzling scene involving the first kidnapping, where the tactical manuevers of Parker and Longehan are smart, slow and careful, and the following scene shows the perfect example of what cat-and-mouse is all about.
Furthermore, there are some wonderful techinal additions to the film for its success. McQuarrie's direction is crisp solid and exciting, always choosing smart angles and fun new ways of showing things. Furthermore, the music score by Joe Kraemer is among the best this year, full of latin and even orchestral notes. The heavy metal music used in the trailer is thankfully absent.I like to be surprised. This film is certainly no exception. It's a hidden gem, a movie that I had all expectations of a flop, and I arrive, 119 minutes later in a daze, told a good, fun story with a healthy dose of all aspects of good filmmaking. While not perfect, "The Way of the Gun" is the way to go.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3913&reviewer=350
originally posted: 08/02/05 08:48:48