The Gunman (June 11/04)
There are confusing films and then there's The Gunman. Writer/director Daniel Millican introduces several plot strands but fails to resolve at least half of them. There is a good movie here, though it's buried underneath a lot of superfluous elements.
The story revolves around Ben (Sean Patrick Flanery), a cop with a score to settle after his wife is brutally murdered. Left to raise his daughter alone, Ben - along with his new partner, Daphne (Joey Lauren Adams) - is assigned the task of tracking down a vigilante that's targeting child abusers. Meanwhile, fellow cop Roland (Brian McNamara) seems to be going after criminals on his own time - for reasons that remain muddled until the film's conclusion. Also thrown into the mix is an old friend of Ben's named Eve (Mimi Rogers), who's struggling to cope with a debilitating disease.
While Millican does clear up a lot of the more confusing elements at The Gunman's end, there are still many unexplained plot points that seem to have been forgotten. An encounter midway through the film between Roland and a criminal, in which the criminal seems to know Roland, is likely the most obvious example of this. Though their meeting turns violent, it's fairly obvious that the two know each other somehow - but Millican's script doesn't allow for any further explanation. Similarly, the murder of Ben's wife makes little sense primarily because the killer's M.O. had already been established, and it certainly didn't involve executing the wives of police officers.
Millican is otherwise a competent filmmaker, though his propensity for interrupting awkward moments with sappy ballads is distracting (to say the least). The most welcome surprise in the movie is Flanery, who convincingly steps into the shoes of a grizzled cop. The actor delivers an effective performance that certainly deserves a better film, while squeaky-voiced Adams isn't terrible as the detective out to prove her worth.
The Gunman certainly isn't terrible, and should provide enough entertainment to justify a rental - though it might be a good idea to watch it with a friend, preferably one who's seen it already.
** out of ****
© David Nusair 2004
|About the DVD: First Look Home Entertainment presents The Gunman with a nice letterboxed transfer, along with two trailers (one for the feature and the other for Perfect Strangers).|