Title: The Gunman
Director: Pierre Morel
Starring: Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone, Mark Rylance, Jasmine Trinca, Javier Bardem.

Jean-Patrick Manchette’s novel ‘La Position du tireur couché’ (The Prone Gunman), gets adapted for the silver screen by French cinematographer and film director Pierre Morel, known for ‘District 13,’ ‘From Paris With Love,’ and ‘Taken.’

The American action thriller, stars Sean Penn as an ex-soldier who carried out an assassination in the Democratic Republic of Congo and finds his past catching up with him eight years later. The cast also includes Javier Bardem, Italian actress Jasmine Trinca, Idris Elba, Ray Winstone and Mark Rylance.

The film begins with utter promise: the opening minutes show the broadcast news footage on the siege of the Democratic Republic of Congo. But what one would hope to be a socially relevant film turns out to be a B movie, where an impressively muscled Penn goes shirtless for most of the running time, in the attempt to emulate Liam Neeson’s club of fifty-something-year old actors who have switched from eclectic performers, to big daddy hardcore movie torturers.

The entire plot becomes shallower as the character seeks redemption for his past behaviour, which will culminate [SPOILER ALERT] in a ludicrously schmaltzy unrealistic happy ending.

It’s rather disappointing to see how two time Academy Award winning actor Sean Penn – whose on-screen credits date back to 2013 with ‘Gangster Squad’ and the small role in ‘The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’ – hits and misses his come back. Hopefully his latest engagement as director will be more promising and will allow him to recoup plaudit. Penn shot ‘The Last Face,’ in South Africa starring his current girlfriend Charlize Theron, where she plays the director of an international aid agency in Africa who meets a relief aid doctor (Javier Bardem) amidst a political revolution. The two characters face tough choices surrounding humanitarianism and life through civil unrest, exactly what ‘The Gunman’ mislead in depicting.

Technical: B-
Acting: C
Story: C-
Overall: C+
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi


By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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