The Way Of The Gun


Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Written by:Christopher McQuarrie
Starring: Ryan Phillippe, Benecio Del Toro, James Caan, Juliette Lewis, Taye Diggs
Released: May 17, 2001
Grade: A-

Our two leads, Ryan Phillippe and Benecio Del Toro, are known only as Parker and Longbaugh for the purposes of this story.  We know little of their past but you get the impression they’re petty thugs with much time on their hands and little to make of it.  At a sperm bank, they overhear a conversation and as they understand it, $1,000,000 cash is to change hands at the surgery of doctor Allen Parker (Dylan Kussman) that afternoon.

So they turn up with no idea what they’re getting themselves into.  In fact, we don't know either and credit goes to writer/director Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) for another intelligent screenplay.  Rather than reveal all about the characters, only tiny pieces are provided and some are not given at all.  For example, just what did happen in Baltimore? 

I won’t divulge more of the screenplay except that it also features two bodyguards (Taye Diggs and Nicky Katt), a wealthy businessman and his wife (Scott Wilson and Kristin Lehman), a bag man (James Caan) and a pregnant lady (Juliette Lewis).  Don’t worry if you’re confused - once you see the film it will make sense.

The film could be criticised for being dull at times (and in fact two people walked out of the cinema in which I saw it).  I disagree with that assessment and enjoyed the film for what it is.  It’s a variable mix but the cast are excellent with emphasis on Del Toro and Phillippe.  Criminals are often portrayed as dumb but these two (whilst not geniuses), know what they’re doing and how to play the game.  James Caan is also excellent in a role I’m sure he knew well.

Set over a 24 hour period, The Way Of The Gun is a really well told story.  Whilst it doesn’t have the shocking revelation provided by McQuarrie’s last effort, The Usual Suspects, you can tell he is a very talented writer and knows how to keep the audience’s attention.  Not a film you should overlook.