The Gunman – Movie Review
The Gunman – R
Release Date: Fri 20 Mar 2015
The Gunman stars Sean Penn as assassin James Terrier who is being hunted down due to his involvement in a mission where he killed the Democratic Republic of Congo’s minister of mines. Terrier has to figure out who is after him and stop them, leading him to reconnect with people from that time in his life that he left behind.
Coming across as little more than a vanity project (Penn’s name appears as one of the screenwriters), The Gunman suffers from a clumsy attempt to forward a political agenda about the way the developing world is mistreated by the west while never fully committing to actually teaching us anything. Assassination and cover-ups by mercenaries are pretty easy to blame, and although it’s Penn’s character that pulled the trigger he is also confusingly the hero of the story. It tries to have a violent action movie teach us about the path to peace, and that works about as well as it sounds.
The action sequences are drawn-out, boring affairs that are almost always an unstoppable Penn vs. bad guys. Javier Bardem, Idris Elba and Ray Winstone are completely wasted in minor roles. It would have helped immensely to have another face on Team Terrier, but we’re stuck with just the one man. We’re also repeatedly reminded – as if contractually – that Sean Penn’s torso is very ripped for a man his age.
Pointless and occasionally preachy action is bad enough, but with a running time just shy of two hours there’s no good reason to see The Gunman.
Jeremiah, Cal, Aaron and I saw it in the theater and had a discussion in the car: