Friday, February 22, 2008

Gunshy (No not that gawdawful Sandra Bullock movie)

Jake Bridges (William Peterson) is a down and out writer who has just lost his job at his paper. Bridges was once one of the top journalists out there, but seems to have lost his drive along with his wife. Bridges finds her in bed with another man one day and decides to move to where the losers can turn into turn into winners or wind up dead.

In Atlantic City, Bridges befriends Frankie (Michael Wincott) and his lovely girlfriend Melissa (Diane Lane). Frankie wants to help Jake by getting him a job as his assistant... it's just that Frankie is the muscle for a small time mob crew. All Frankie wants in return is for Jake to teach him a little bit of culture. Frankie longs for his break out of Jersey to experience more of what life has to offer. Needless to say, things aren't what they seem plus Jake falls in love with Melissa.

There are a lot of cliches floating around in this film from director Jeff Celentano. The setup is tremendously boring and a mess, but once you get in you do find some good stuff. The relationship between Frankie and Jake gives you at least 30 solid minutes of unique interplay. Peterson reminds you that he is heads and tails the best actor in the cast with a solid performance here. Wincott is stuck doing a cheap accent while lousy Springsteen wannabe music plays in the background. Lane sleepwalks through most of the film. It almost feels like a few scenes were written for the leads while a craptacular plot was added on to make it a movie.

Gunshy tries to toe the line of drama and dark comedy. It would have been much better if it wouldn't have pulled it's punches and went all out dark. To see Peterson go into a downward moral spiral would've been hella interesting considering his substantial acting chops (See Manhunter or To Live and Die in LA). You get a sense of Jake starting to like the life of Frankie, but by the time you get to the good stuff you've sat through a hour of setup.


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