The Way of the Gun (8-Sep-2000)|
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Writer: Christopher McQuarrie
Producer: Kenneth Kokin
Keywords: Crime, Kidnapping, Mexico
Review by Striker5 (posted on 14-Aug-2007)
The Way of the Gun is a brutal and psychologically complex crime drama centering on the kidnapping of a woman who is the surrogate mother for an organized crime figure. The film is notable in that it is the directorial debut of Christopher McQuarrie, the Oscar winning writer of The Usual Suspects.
The plot focuses on two criminals (Benicio del Toro and Ryan Phillipe) who plan and execute the kidnapping of a young woman (Juliette Lewis) who is the surrogate mother of a wealthy couple. After the kidnapping, it is revealed that "father" is a powerful organized crime boss, Chidduck (Scott Wilson). Chidduck enlists the help of his fixer and friend Sarno (James Caan) and his security detail (Taye Diggs and Nicky Katt) to eliminate the kidnappers and rescue the mother.
The narrative of the movie focuses on the growing relationship between del Toro, Phillipe and Lewis, the shifting alliances of Wilson, Caan, and Diggs and issues of family, loyalty, and friendship.
The film is full of good performances, notably del Toro and Caan. The screenplay is very smart and that is the film's only serious failing. There is a lot going on and the subtleties of the different characters and the plot twists are a lot to grasp, even for a perceptive viewer. Upon watching the commentary, McQuarrie would make observations on different points in the movie that I would never have picked up on and were still vague, even after listening to the directors explanation.
The action and violence are first rate. McQuarrie's brother is a Navy SEAL and was brought in as a technical adviser (commentary). This film is especially praised by the military and law enforcement for its realistic depiction of shooting and close quarters battle tactics.
According to the commentary, there is also a personal subtext wherein McQuarrie is mocking Hollywood thriller/action movies. This is apparently driven by his disgruntlement at being typed as a writer of crime dramas, due to the success of The Usual Suspects. As noted, only a preternaturally gifted viewer would ever pick up on this.
The film also features a foul-mouthed Sarah Silverman for a brief, but immensely satisfying opening scene.
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