Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Gunless review

I stumbled onto this movie on IMDB, where the synopsis read:

"A hardened American gunslinger is repeatedly thwarted in his attempts to mount a showdown in a friendly town in Canada where no one seems to understand or appreciate the brutal code of the American Wild West."

You know, that actually sounds funny to me. So I watched the movie. Guess what? I actually really enjoyed it.

I wouldn't call the movie a straight comedy, but was funny enough to get me laughing out loud at times. The jokes aren't big and in-your-face, rather it has a quieter, slightly more subtle sense of humour. I found it quite refreshing; it seems most American comedies I see these days don't know the difference between laughter and vomiting. By which I mean all they do is try to gross the audience out. That and focus on genitals.

Well you know what? I don't enjoy looking at things that are disgusting, and when I hear jokes about genitals I feel as if a five year old has just handed me a piece of paper with some random crayon marks on them. Oh, very well done, you managed to break a taboo, aren't you a clever little movie? Sigh.

I'm not saying Gunless is high-brow, only that it doesn't look for it's jokes in the toilet, and I appreciated that. Perhaps it's because it's Canadian, not American? Or is that just an unfair stereotype?

I said that I don't consider it a straight comedy, and that's because it focuses more on character development than on earning laughs. The result is a deeper story than you would expect, with likeable characters and an interesting protagonist who actually surprised me. What's more the love story felt natural rather than forced or tacked on, and the end was well done.

Overall I give it 8/10; a fun and engaging film.


When the Montana Kid finally explains why he can't just let it go, and has to go through with the duel, well it surprised me, and impressed me. All of a sudden he became so much more human, rather than a cowboy cliché.

I liked how the end balanced the need to show him as a reformed character with the practicalities of a gunfight and the need for a dramatic climax. It's not easy to do; typically movies in this kind of situation sacrifice believability to show the hero somehow prevail without using a gun.

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