Monday, September 22, 2008

Gun Crazy

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Let's get to it.
Notable Talent: I knew the main character looked familiar, and it turns out that he was one of the killers in Hitchcock's Rope. He's a good looking guy, and pretty good in these two movies, but it doesn't look like his career amounted to too much, and he died fairly young. Other than that, I am unfamiliar with the filmmakers.
Detective Story: No sir, this here would be a crime story. In fact, it's of the beloved "young lovers on the lam" subgenre of crime films, so it's sort of like an earlier version of Bonnie and Clyde. Or it's like Wild at Heart without the head crushing, voodoo murdering and Wizard of Oz references.
Twisty, Turny Plot: No, I would say this one more relies on headlong energy. Everything proceeds about how you'd expect.
Moral Ambiguity: Well, we have a boyfriend and girlfriend bankrobbing team as our heroes. The guy just loves guns and wants to impress the girl, and doesn't really want to do any wrong. The girl is more of a hard case, prone to losing her shit and killing people who get in her way. He loves her, but it's unclear at times how much she feels for him... is she in love, or is she just manipulating him? Definitely some femme fatale elements here, in fact another name for this one is apparently Deadly is the Female. That's an okay noir title, but Gun Crazy I think is a better fit for this story.
Sweet-ass Shadowy Black and White Cinematography: Not as overt or expressionistic as I like, but definitely shot with a lot of style. There's a pretty good looking opening in the pouring rain, on a dark street, which always looks great in b&w. There's also a notably cool bank heist sequence, done in one long shot, from the inside of the car. You never see what happens in the bank, but you see their arrival and getaway. Kind of a neat, show-offy way of doing a low bugdet crime flick.
Overall Quality: Feels a bit like the one that got away, to use a saying that I tend to overuse. It's got a great opening, setting up a short of heightened reality about this kid who just loooooooooves guns, wants nothing more than to shoot them all day, and can make all sorts of ridiculous trick shots. One day he meets a woman of equal skill, and they run off together to start a life of crime. I was expecting it to be a little more over the top, maybe they do all sorts of crazy trick shooting while robbing banks like shooting open the registers, or shooting the guns out of cops' hands or something. Instead, after the first 20 or 30 minutes it settles into a well made but run of the mill Bonnie and Clyde story. I mean, I dunno, maybe this would have felt more fresh at the time, but now it feels like something that's been done, and been done better.
So this is a reasonably entertaining movie that could have been something a lot more. Good, but had potential for greatness:
1) Act of Violence
2) Crime Wave
3) Night and the City
4) Shoot the Piano Player
5) Gun Crazy
6) Mystery Street
7) Decoy

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