Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Film Review - The Gunman

Doing The Drill

Film: The Gunman
Cast: Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem
Directed by: Pierre Morel
Duration: 1 hr 55 mins
Rating: * * 1 / 2

From the director of Taken, you would expect a taut thriller given the subject of the film, but Pierre Morel doesn’t quite manage to pull this one off. Yes, there are a few thrills occasionally but as a cohesive film it barely makes the cut.

Based on the novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette, Terrier (Sean Penn, all buffed up) plays a sharpshooter who is looking for redemption for the crimes he committed once upon a time long ago in Congo. Circa 2006, he was stationed there to protect a group of NGO workers and he was also romancing a doctor (Jasmine Trinca) making his colleague Felix (Javier Bardem) a jealous guy.

After completing a rather nasty assignment, he goes into hiding leaving his lady love in the hands of his colleague. Few years later, he is a changed man doing humanitarian work till someone tries to kill him.

Looking for answers, he flies to London and his quest for the killers takes him to Barcelona where he unexpectedly learns that his girlfriend is now someone else’s wife. Although he is focused on finding the men hunting him, he is forced to involve her in his scheme of things. 

Idris Elba makes an appearance rather late in the film as an Interpol office and the time he spends on screen can be described as a cameo at best.The climax takes place in Barcelona’s famous bullfighting ring although the closing credit tells us that the ‘sport’ is banned in the city since 2012. 

With a story like this, you would expect a fast paced action thriller with a few twists and turns. On the contrary, the screen play is on auto-pilot with no surprises thrown in making you wonder what exactly the big deal about the story is then. 

Javier Bardem tries to add some spark but he is left high and dry, the physical effort put in by Sean Penn shows but otherwise there is nothing memorable about this role. Let’s hope he will bounce back soon, either in front or behind the camera.

Published in The Navhind Times, Goa on 29th March 2015

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