By Natalie Paterson
I had the pleasure of seeing the advance screening of The Gunman on Monday March 9th. The new release starring Sean Penn, Idris Elba, and Javier Bardem held my interest for the duration. Penn plays a former Special Forces sniper, Jim Terrier, whose successful assassination of a Congo minister forces him to go into hiding, losing his mercenary team and the love of his life, Annie (Jasmine Trinca). He returns to the Congo years later to find that he now has become a hit squad’s target, and rushes across Europe to find his lost love.
The film itself is an interesting blend of high stakes action, suspense, and just a smidge of romance. Unfortunately, it is not at all what I was expecting with such a casting of actors. To my mind, though interesting, there weren’t any standout moments, and nothing really drew from the fact that this was meant to be a serious film about serious, high stakes action at all costs. The story itself moved quite slow in the beginning, and only really started to pick up steam within an hour of the end time.
To be honest, I was somewhat disappointed in the performances. Idris Elba had one memorable moment towards the end of the film, but otherwise was not really present, while Javier Bardem’s performance came off similar to that of a Saturday morning cartoon villain. There wasn’t anything drawing me in to the relationships that Terrier had with any of the other characters, including Annie. All that aside however, Sean Penn is not bad as an action star. It seemed a bit outside of what we’ve seen him do in the past, but he managed to pull it off and channel his inner Terminator.
Overall, the film has its share of action-packed moments, but the pacing is what drew me away from truly enjoying it. There were far too many lulls in the story for me, personally.
However, decide for yourself! The Gunman is in theatres across Canada now.