Christopher McQuarrie waited five years from his writing success with The Usual Suspects (1995), which won him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, before he ventured into writing and directing his own feature film. The Way of the Gun (2000) does what it sets out to do: entertain. McQuarrie has turned what could have been a graphic novel for teenage boys in to a big screen action movie with balls and a very pregnant Juliette Lewis. Basically it’s a film about living and dying by the gun or as one of the characters says ‘a no brains kind of operation’ which is not meant to be a derogatory statement but just to point out that the viewer can settle back in his/her armchair and just enjoy this modern day western, certainly more Peckinpah than Scorsese, without having to think too much.
Mr Parker (pretty boy Ryan Phillippe) and Mr Longbaugh (Puerto Rico born Benicio del Toro) are a couple of likely lads on the make. One day while trying to sell their merchandise at a sperm donation clinic they overhear a telephone conversation that will change their fortunes. So they decide to kidnap a young surrogate mother Robin (the afore mentioned Ms Lewis) who is carrying the baby of a gangster boss Hale Chidduck (Scot Wilson) and demand $15 million in exchange for her, and the unborn baby’s safe return. But as you may guess nothing goes to plan as they get tracked by two of Chidduck’s heavy’s and a mysterious bagman Sarno (Sonny Corleone himself James Caan) a man who has certainly lived by the gun!
|The bagman discusses business.|
Although James Caan steals the movie, Phillippe and del Toro make a great double act far better than Washington and Walberg did in the recent 2 Guns (2013) in fact director Baltaser Kormakur could have done to pick up some tips from repeated viewings of McQuarrie successful attempt at this ‘high stakes genre’ (as Juliette Lewis called it). A brutally violent roller coaster ride that manages to uncut the bloodletting with some cracking witty dialogue and if its this action genre that turns you on folks, then get a copy and enjoy.