The big selling point for The Way of the Gun is the fact that it was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, the guy who wrote The Usual Suspects. Benicio Del Toro and Ryan Phillippe star as two low-rent criminals w... more »ho fall into a plan to kidnap a surrogate mother (Juliette Lewis) who is carrying a baby for a very wealthy couple. The duo are immediately in over their heads, and their kidnapping plot brings to light the dark and hidden tendrils of the old man's family structure. It also brings on lots of gunfights and lots of blood. McQuarrie creates some good action sequences (particularly the slow-moving car "chase" through the alleys), but that only serves to emphasize the one major weakness of the film: the script. Though it's chock full of macho declarations, shootouts, and "surprise" revelations, the core story is ultra-predictable. That wouldn't be so bad if there were any characters to care about, but only a supporting performance from James Caan elicits any kind of sympathy. This is merely a movie based on violent movies, with no additional commentary. Then again, McQuarrie does do a nice job with much of the action. Though nowhere near as good as The Usual Suspects, particularly in its story, The Way of the Gun is a promising debut for McQuarrie as a director. --Andy Spletzer« less
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL Reviewed on 7/16/2010...
A horrible attempt by a hack director to do a Quentin Tarantino type film. Missed the point of what make Tarantino a unique & talented filmmaker. Utter waste of time.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Jeff V. (burielofmel) from HARRIMAN, TN Reviewed on 2/22/2008...
This movie went "the way of the crap" in my opinion.
2 of 7 member(s) found this review helpful.
H. J. Seeley | Lansing, MI | 12/08/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off if you're considering buying this movie, definitely read at least three pages of the reviews here and more if possible. You'll get a good feel of the film that way. Some folks get this movie and some have no clue at all.
I'm just going to add some comments that are lacking or that have been mis-stated.
First, only in the most loose definition of plot twists or subplots, does this film have either. The story is entirely linear, however you have to piece together parts of the story from sparse information. The story begins at least 9 months prior to when the movie starts with the relationship and "deal" between the bagman and the surrogate mother (but you don't know this until nearly the end and it's subtle enough to miss). The film story fully begins with the kidnapping. From that point on the various antagonists all see opportunities and then angle to make it happen, except for the bagman who is protecting more than his employer.
Second, this is not about petty crooks and a botched job. This is a story that involves professional criminals, professional mobsters and professional bodyguards, all of whom show clarity and intelligence beyond typical clever, one-liner, hollywood scripting.
The fact that police are only peripherally involved in any part of the film simply indicates that the dealings are far beyond your average cops and robbers style movie. This is a subculture that is not visible to normal society. The dialogue between Longbaugh and Sarno should illustrate this nicely. There is an understanding between them that goes well beyond the simple words. This is equally true for the relationship between Longbaugh and Parker, and Sarno and Abner - much is conveyed but little is said. This is a product of excellence in both acting and directing.
Lastly, the viewer is conflicted by the characters. Bodyguards should be good guys, but are not sympathetic and are really just mercenary. Chidduck is a bad person, but is the only person with a good intent. Longbaugh, Parker and Sarno are criminals pure and simple, but can be sympathetic. All of these characters show that the line between good/evil, or honor/dishonor, or morality, etc is a very blurry line, and one that the characters cross over without regret. There are no absolutes. This is good script writing, because that does not happen by sheer good fortune.
One last thought. I feel that this film is better than the Usual Suspects. Simply because I think the Way of the Gun is more believable and more steeped in reality. The Usual Suspects to me was clever but ultimately a fantasy."
A great debut
sillyrabbit | 09/10/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have to say, walking into this film, I was expecting more, but that can only be because of the fine credits of the writer/director. I mean, of course you're going to have to expect double and triple crosses and enough plot twists for ten movies when you go and see a movie from the man who wrote The Usual Suspects. However, I have to say that even though I was at first dissapointed, that quickly went out the window as I got into this terrific action/noir piece by Christopher McQuarrie. His barage of bullets and profanity is some of the best stuff to come out of Hollywood in recent years. The story, which I'm not going to spoil, is a work of criminal genius, and the acting is very good (even Ryan Phillipe!). This film crosses Pekinpah's The Wild Bunch with Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid (through with huge nods are made) and a little bit of 40's noir. The two antiheros are by far some of the best written characers in recent months, and the two actors tacked on to play them are great. The supporting cast, which consists of James Caan, Taye Digs, Nicky Katt, and Juliette Lewis is masterfully crafted and very low key, which is necessary when trying to make a film of this manner. There is not a single over the top performance, which gives a sort of cohesion among the ensemble. Benicio del Toro gives the films best, and sometimes most hilarious performance and has been given some of the best lines to work with. Phillipe actually does a good job with his role, considering how few lines, besides the narration, that he has. His boyish charm works perfectly as a man who doesn't give a damn and is extremely mature for his young appearance. To me, the only thing that was lacking in this film was the direction. There are too many stationary shots and a little bit too much of the Pekinpah factor involved in the direction. There are certain scenes the scream of The Getaway and The Wild Bunch, along with a little bit of Straw Dogs' claustrophobia. The script is top notch and shows how good of a writer McQuarrie is, especially when you consider that he wrote the film in five days just to get the corporate monkeys who wanted him to make a crime film off of his back. This is the great type of neo-noir action thriller that will stabalize the genre, but it is sad to read interviews with McQuarrie in which he says this will be his last foray into the noir genre. A talent like his in a genre this hard to work correctly in is definitely few and far between, and this film will be studied, not for the direction, but for the always odd plot that drove this film to the great heights that it reached."
Enjoy it on its own terms
Earl Hazell | New York | 10/06/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Does this movie compare to THE USUAL SUSPECTS?
Does it matter?
Anyone brilliant enough to write the screenplay for SUSPECTS must have more than one movie in him, and McQuarrie proves he does with this. Some reviewers remarked about how he doesn't make you care for the characters in his film. And I think they missed the point: you're not supposed to. McQuarrie figures out how to make you enjoy watching them without either caring about them or being totally replused by them. He achieves a sacred principle of both writing and directing--making it a lot easier on even great actors like Del Toro and James Caan: freeing you from existential judgment or the self-referentialness lessor screen writers can fall into. This creates room for the nilhist philosophy and betrayal that competes with anything that can be called deep and abiding love whereever it occurs in this film.
EVERYONE in this movie is a "bag man;" even the unborn children. As such McQuarrie is saying something pretty deep about the modern world in total. And yet he does it in the context of not boring us to tears with preaching or burdening our minds with too much philosophy, pertinent or otherwise. All while giving us some of the most innovative car chases and shoot-em-up action scenes done in some time.
This movie came out in 2000, and to see how the actors have evolved since then is refreshing and exhilharating all by itself. Caan looks about ten years younger in the successful NBC-TV show LAS VEGAS of today than he does in this movie; showing off, obviously, the prodigious acting skills that forever remind us that THE GODFATHER was no fluke. (He is acting older and more beat down in this movie than he probably ever has been.) Every actor puts in some serious work in this, and make it worth seeing, and worth owning. And McQuarrie's writing and directing make it worth thinking about afterwards."
Let your girlfriends/wives watch this one
Muriel Montgomery | 06/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I reluctantly went to the theater with my husband to see "The Way of the Gun" as it was his turn to pick a film to see. I'm not your usual chick-flick kinda chick, I really appreciate good films that keep my attention and leave me wanting to talk about it afterwards (in a positive way! re: "Signs" *shudder*).I'll admit that the title had me a bit set against it, and surely the first scene of the movie also turned me off as it was completely pointless and should have been cut from the film entirely. After that, however, is where it really begins.I wont get into plot specifics as I see many reviews have touched on that aspect already. The first action scene where the kidnapping occured blew me away. It was unlike ANY scene I had ever seen in a film. It set the tone for the entire movie to have intense emotional drama without noise, without running or shooting blindly. It showed that these two criminals were a step above your average thug or person who "is more interested in being a criminal than wanting to commit a crime". The bodyguards also prooved to be a step above your typical bouncer thug, but rather very well trained men who entered the profession for it's strategic and competitive appeal. I loved the old man who was hiding behind the motel with the cel-phone that just wouldn't operate. He cracked me up all the way through with the odd russian roulete to the silliest death scene ever to be shot. Him and the main Bag Man had womderful dialoge and set the tone for his obvious wisdom and experience in the life of a hitman. I liked how the older gentlemen were depicted as wise, and not as bumbling old coots.I did not understand one part of this plot. What did Dr. Painter do? Something with an abortion? Huh?I enjoyed the dialogue emmensely, and perhaps this is why it's appealing to women and men because it doesn't assume that you the viewer is a mindless dingleberry who is easliy bored by interesting plot and character development *ahem!*"
An valiant but failed effort at turning genre on its head
snootchiebootchies | Calgary, Alberta Canada | 10/04/2001
(2 out of 5 stars)
"McQuarrie is clearly a movie junkie. This is evident by his Peckinpah-esque story arc and settings and his pair of anti-heroes; the John Woo-esque excessive gunplay, the subsequent and frequent showers of bullets, and the limitless supply of people to kill, and guns to kill them with; and the Quentin Tarantino-esque self-conscious subversion of the genre. I didn't mind all his overt nods/homages/rip-offs (whatever) because it still made for a heady mix that was fun, albeit a little too violent for my tastes. Even the slow, slow-speed car chase, the failed-but-then-successful kidnapping attempt, and the cell-phone bit were fun although it's clear that McQuarrie is too conscious of the trademarks/cliches set down by his predecessors and is trying his darnedest to put a fresh spin on things. But what weren't fun for me were the complex turns the plot took about halfway through the film. Last week, I saw another overplotted film, "Nurse Betty", and I forgave the turns in that plot because LaBute dutifully made sure each of them paid off (although not all of them worked). Here, the complications get piled on top of one another for no reason, and some are left to dangle without ever being resolved or even referred to again. In McQuarrie's defence, I did get the feeling that many of the needless plot devices were meant to set up that final line of dialogue. But even if that's the case, it's still not worth it because it wasn't THAT funny."