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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 12.09.09] Canada review action comedy

Year: 2009
Director: Blaine Thurier
Writer: Blaine Thurier
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

It's amazing how one telephone call can change your life. If you're Trevor, the lead of Blaine Thurier's new film A Gun to the Head, it will throw that life into a tailspin.

Trevor's a reformed criminal. Once a petty thug and drug dealer, he left the life behind to settle down. Now with a job, a wife (Grace), a house and car payments, he's a regular Joe going though the day to day motions of life. On the night his wife invites her boss to dinner, Trevor gets a call from his troubled cousin Darren, a guy still well entrenched in the thug life. With an excuse, he brushes Darren off but it's clear he's excited to hear from his cousin. When the dinner party runs dry, Trevor sees his opportunity for escape and with the excuse that he's going out to buy wine, he heads off to find his cousin and begin a night which leads from one bad decision to the next, all of it coming together in an amusing and unlikely climax.

Thurier's a man who likes a good laugh and apparently so does his cast because this story, which was heavily rewritten with input from the actors, is a comedy of errors. As if Darren's bad choices aren't enough, Trevor does one better by playing along from one bad situation to the next (he should know better). Then there's the dinner party which is getting stranger by the second as Grace tries, rather unsuccessfully, to aver the threesome her boss is desperately trying to initiate, something which is made particularly amusing by the fact that the boss is married to Jill, played by the gorgeous Ali Liebert (any man even willing to consider sharing a woman that looks like Liebert should probably get his head checked). If this isn't enough comedic drama there's also Sam, the crime "boss" who, unlike the thugs he has working for him, is a quiet, well mannered sort who appears in control of every situation (except for the simple fact that he's allowed Darren to make a mock of him on the street).

All of these stories, and a few more which only add to the wacky chaos, are excellently interwoven into a hugely entertaining tale of one night gone wrong. It's clear from early on that this isn't going to end well but kudos to Thurier and editor Nicholas Shepard for building the story to the breaking point without losing steam. There isn't a dull moment in this picture, even when the action is nothing more than Darren and Trevor driving around town.

Few films shot in Vancouver actually make good use of the city choosing instead to substitute it for somewhere else but Thurier and cinematographer Craig Trudeau manage to capture the feel of the city, the comings and goings of life in a metropolis where everything happens behind closed doors. Trudeau is a talent to watch; he managed to shoot two great and very different films in the span of the year. Machotaildrop (review) is night and day from A Gun to the Head and yet both films look gorgeous though they have very different aesthetics.

With so much already going for it, A Gun to the Head also sports the talents of an extraordinary cast. Thurier managed to wrangle up the cream of the crop of local talent casting everyone from Tygh Runyan to Hrothgar Mathews but even the supporting cast provides excellent performances. I was particularly taken with Sarah Lind's turn as Audrey, the sex pot trophy wife. Her character could easily have faded into the background but Lind brings an innocence and sense of unhappiness to the character which is anything but forgettable and she's not alone. There are other memorable performances peppered throughout which add a nice touch to a film already crammed with great performances.

A Gun to the Head is a great example of what can be accomplished when a talented group of performers gets together: an entertaining comedy with a touch of contemplation. It may be low budget and in places look the part but overall, the film surpasses any of its shortcomings.

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Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

Actually the trophy wife is named Audrey and is played by Sarah Lind.

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