The Gunman is a story about Terrier (Sean Penn), a sniper on a mercenary assassination team who is hired to kill the Minister of Mines of the Congo. Terrier’s successful kill shot forces him into hiding. Returning to the Congo years later, he becomes the target of a hit squad himself.
The movie opens with a series of news bulletin clips reporting on the tragedies currently happening in the world, not unlike the beginning of V for Vendetta, only in The Gunman the reports are focused around the Congo circa 2006.
Then enter our hero Terrier (Penn) who’s well-aged chiselled face frames a majestic moustache even Guy Fawkes himself would have been jealous of. We soon see he is a very hard man doing a tough job in ruthless circumstances. His only soft spot is the apple of his eye; Annie (Jasmine Trinca) who is a surgeon doing humanitarian aid work in the same area. She is also clearly sought after by Felix (Javier Bardem) who is the shot caller of sorts for Terrier’s ‘team’.
Some might be quick to jump on a bandwagon and call this movie ‘Sean Penn’s version of Taken‘ (the movie made famous by Liam Neeson’s role and of the same director; Pierre Morel). I however differ and think that statement is lazy, unjust, unfair and misplaced towards both films.
The Gunman takes us on a very different journey where the viewer and Terrier are often trying to work out who actually is the bad guy per-se and what their motives for wanting him dead are. It also seems to make a large effort to shine light on Penn’s interests in humanitarian aid efforts in the developing world.
Some things to note are the excellently choreographed fight scenes which you would expect from director Pierre Morel, also the thought and budget which went into the cinematography; every time a character travels in a car there seems to be a sweeping overhead shot most likely taken from a helicopter following them.
You will also see Terrier shirtless from time to time which is fine because I can only assume that Sean Penn did somewhere between two and three trillion sit-ups, ran 100km every morning, punched a hole through a brick wall then bench-pressed a bus for this role. Any 20 year old could likely only dream of being in as great shape as Penn, now 54!
Other noteworthy performances are from Jamine Trinca whom you just can’t help but falling a bit in love with and Javier Bardem who plays his particular role very well too. Last, but not least, Ray Winstone and Mark Rylance were stand-outs in their supporting roles alongside what were all seemingly a very talented cast.
Kryztoff Rating 3.5K