Thursday, March 19, 2015

Anti-American Sniper: The Gunman Movie Review

                          The Gunman: Terrier Saved By The Bull

Money and morals are definitely a difficult if impossible combination to pull off. And this contradiction could not be more true than in the impulse lately of mainstream filmmakers and actors to make meaningful movies with an indie heart, while keeping a foot firmly in Hollywood.

That is, when it comes to what formulas that flourish at the box office, namely action thrillers and crude comedy. Which seems to be lately heralding in a peculiar new emerging, unfortunate juxtaposed genre, that aims to sell pressing political issues to the public by sugarcoating them with fluff ranging from mindless to inane.

And in that sense, such films may reveal more about mistrust of the masses to comprehend their own basic human needs and what's ailing America. And that condescension likewise extends to film critics in a different sort of way. Namely, an even more entrenched class bias that not only expresses contempt for the masses, but critical blinders as well in understanding the world only on their own primarily middle aged, white, and comfortable middle class terms.

Which brings up three recent politically driven releases, all resoundingly denounced - surprise, surprise - by critics: The Cobbler [urban removal themed] and Accidental Love [the health care crisis]. Both are crafted with sincere conviction, no matter how muddled with goofy comedy. But the third, The Gunman, directed by Pierre Morel [Taken] fails on all counts.

A kind of Anti-American Sniper - though this is in no way a sequel - Sean Penn stars as Terrier, a double dipping, ultimately remorseful mercenary staked out in the Congo. Presumably assisting an NGO with public works development, he's likewise doing the bidding of Western mineral interests. And in that capacity, Terrier assassinates a government minister in the way of a multinational's theft of natural resources there. And any of this seemingly a pretext for lots of gunplay - indicated without subtlety by the title - the relentlessly bulletproof Penn, a climactic showdown at a bullfighting ring and bodies littered across numerous international locales.

To sum up, in the midst of multiple mercenaries, matadors, a two-timing damsel in distress, corporate conmen and standard macho mayhem with a differently duplicitous Javier Bardem checking in as well, dishonor among thieves abounds. Not to mention that NGOs - without any significant research kicking in that might have uncovered them as more often than not, notoriously in bed with the multinationals everywhere themselves. And in just as many cases, more effective as shrewd propaganda tools, than the blatant activity of mercenaries.

In any case oddly enough and back to those matadors in question, the aggravated anti-hero is saved by the bull.

Prairie Miller

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