Sunday, 22 March 2015


It's oddly easy to let The Gunman just wash over you - this anaemic action movie doesn't make much of an impact for better or worse, so one can sit back and appreciate the simple pleasures it provides. Though not a total waste of time, The Gunman washes off too quickly to be honestly recommended, and thus can be shrugged off with equal ease. This kind of artistically nondescript, functionally plotted thriller keeps getting resurrected every year at the movies, as frequently in international film industries as in Hollywood; there's precious little left to say or to prove in this niche of the market, and The Gunman's filmmakers actually seem keen to exploit the fact that there's no point in trying any more. Rather than attempt even a minute variation on this timeworn theme, they stroll through the motions in the contemptuous belief that anyone might care when they do not. The only person involved who does seem to care is Sean Penn, but he does his best to conceal his flailing desperation. This is a reinvented Sean Penn, a stoic, muscular, skilled action hero and effortless womaniser, but Penn's ego maintains much of his old cinematic persona: intelligent, honest, painfully self-righteous. Combine each of these callous, self-aggrandising characters and form a film around the wholly uncharismatic product of the two, and you have The Gunman, a silly, formulaic, manipulative and plainly boring piece of work, with a horrendously didactic screenplay (the opening credits dialogue is just the worst, no rly it's the worst). Lively supporting actors like Javier Bardem, Ray Winstone and Sir Lord King Emperor God Mark Rylance are the only reasons to let this trumped-up trash wash up anywhere near you.