Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Movie with Abe: Die in a Gunfight

Die in a Gunfight
Directed by Collin Schiffli
Released July 16, 2021 (Theaters and VOD)

Many people spend a great deal of time thinking about how they will be remembered when they are gone. For some, their legacy is intricately connected to how it is that they die, because the manner in which their life ends says something about how they lived. That may be more due to unrealistic expectations and ideas created by popular culture, but a confident sense of mortality can inform an attitude of invincibility. Those who walk around as if they are untouchable and wouldn’t be bothered by death usually don’t live long, but their time is most certainly memorable.

Ben Gibbon (Diego Boneta) has never had a good relationship with his wealthy family. The discord is rooted in his eagerness to provoke, and the return of the woman he never stopped loving, Mary Ratchart (Alexandra Daddario), who happens to be the daughter of his parents’ generations-long rivals, only further ignites his passion for civil disobedience. Ben’s determination to be reunited with Mary puts him on a collision course with an obsessive security guard (Justin Chatwin), a hippie hitman (Travis Fimmel) and his girlfriend (Emmanuelle Chriqui), and his loyal best friend Mukul (Wade Allain-Marcus) that seems destined to end in bloodshed.

This film is heavily stylized, introducing its story first with animation and voiceover narration. While there isn’t anything particularly unique about either Ben or Mary, the framing of this story absolutely presents it as such, utilizing colorful graphics to explain who characters are and jumping in to the most interesting moments of their lives to show who they truly are. That cinematic quality enhances a plot that isn’t all that creative, infusing energy and a wondrous moodiness into the misadventures that befall its ensemble. It isn’t afraid to follow its narrative wherever events might take it, subverting expectations while at the same time fulfilling them.

The entire cast in this film is well-utilized, starting with the charismatic Boneta and the reliable Daddario. From their first scenes, it’s clear that they shared a passion, and whatever happened in between their previous time of closeness and the current moment may as well be irrelevant since those feelings have returned again and are strong as ever. Fimmel and Chriqui are having a lot of fun, and Chatwin shows true commitment to his role. This film is full of violent and blunt encounters, but the way in which it is constructed make it well worth watching and, like its protagonist always hopes, not easy to forget.


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