Son of a Gun movie review: wholesale cinematic heist
Misogynistic, predictable, crammed with tonal shifts, and devoid of likable characters. Another young filmmaker has taken all the wrong cues from Hollywood.
I’m “biast” (pro):
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
It’s like Starred Up — the harrowing British film about a teenager sent to adult prison before he’s legally old enough for it — except here landing in an adult prison turns out to be a good career and personal move for a young man. It all starts out intense and harrowing, as young JR (Brenton Thwaites: The Giver) finds himself among hardened violent felons while serving a few months on an unspecified but obviously minor offense; let’s just say that regular rape shouldn’t be part of any criminal punishment. Soon, he is helping vaguely legendary criminal Brendan (Ewan McGregor: Mortdecai) escape and joining him on an audacious gold heist of a mine in the Outback for gangster Sam (Jacek Koman: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance), and the film morphs from prison drama to action thriller comedy… sort of. Son of a Gun can’t really seem to decide what sort of movie it is, beyond how it seems to think whatever bits of crap and cliché it can steal from every other buddy action comedy heist thriller prison drama ever made, the better. Toss in some gun porn, random strip-club boobage, a tough but vulnerable mobster moll in need of rescue (Alicia Vikander: Ex Machina), a couple of “unlikely” disguises, a strained pseudointellectual metaphor about JR’s plight, and there is nothing — literally nothing — here you haven’t seen before, and done better. Gun is too long, misogynistic, predictable, crammed with bizarre tonal shifts, and devoid of a single likable character. I blame Hollywood, for making it look cool to make the same movie over and over again, and offer this advice to young filmmakers, including Australian Julius Avery, whose first feature this is: If you think your idea for a movie seems totally awesome because a shit-ton of other movies have done it all before, come up with another idea.
first viewed during the 58th BFI London Film Festival
See also my #WhereAreTheWomen rating of Son of a Gun for its representation of girls and women.