Name: The Gunman (2015)
IMDb: link to The Gunman page
Genres: Action, mystery, thriller, crime. Country of origin: USA.
Sean Penn as Jim Terrier, Idris Elba as Barnes, Jasmine Trinca as Annie, Javier Bardem as Felix, Ray Winstone as Stanley, Mark Rylance as Cox.
Directed by: Pierre Morel. Written by: Jean-Patrick Manchette (novel), Don MacPherson (screenplay).
Image courtesy of TMDbThe Three Acts:
The initial tableaux:
Terrier worked in the Congo in 2006 during their civil war as a mercenary. His speciality is assassination, and he kills the minister of mines. Minister of mines is a key position, due to the Congo's mineral wealth. Terrier's being tasked with this shows his level of trust with whomever is paying him. Jim is having an affair with Annie, who is a doctor who does humanitarian work. Felix is in love with Annie, which she does not reciprocate at the time.
Delineation of conflicts:
Eight years later, Jim is back in the Congo, again working in parallel with a humanitarian agency, but not as an assassin. However, someone holds a grudge, and makes an attempt on his life. Their agents are charged with providing proof of death. Terrier intends to keep living. In order to do that, he needs to know the motivations of whoever wants to kill him. His adversary has no intention of that happening, so the mystery/thriller action ensues.
Terrier leaves Congo for London to confer with his former colleague Cox. He asks about the complete list of those who knew about the assassination. This is the springboard for the rest of the film's plot: find the true players and ask them what's what.
Just to make things more interesting, Jim's past war injuries have had a cumulative effect. He has memory loss and passes out now and them. Can he keep it together long enough to sort this out?
Jim's first stop is Barcelona, the last known of Felix, his first real target. However, Felix just might have his own agenda here.
Resolution: Jim finds out some of what he needs to know, but will he find out enough?
One line summary: Sean Penn as an action hero.
Cinematography: 7/10 Not all that good.
Sound: 8/10 Dialog is clear. Music is subdued but appropriate.
Acting: 7/10 Mark Rylance was fine as I expected. Ray Winstone was an asset. Sean Penn was in good form. Javier Bardem disappointed as usual. The overused Idris Elba was better than I expected in a small role. Jasmine Trinca was OK for what the script gave her to work with.
Screenplay: 6/10 Violence and threat moves the plot along, so the 115 minutes runtime does not drag. The romantic angle was bleak and sad, but did resolve somewhat well. I'm glad I saw the film, but would not watch it again. Checking against Box Office Mojo and IMDb, it took in 11 million domestically, against 40 million production costs, so the chances for a sequel are slim.
At the end of the film, I felt that I should have been happier for the protagonist, but just could not be. I felt this to be a major failing of the film.
Final Rating: 7/10 I liked it better than most people did, but I would be hard pressed to say, 'you must see this one.'