Review: A GUN IN EACH HAND Invites Puns, Delivers Wit
A Gun In Each Hand is a smash-hit success; a multi-award winner boasting a huge all-star cast, it is an extremely commercial production that broke box-office records in its native Spain. It opened the Spanish Film Festival in Australia this year and has just been recently released on DVD.
A witty and scathingly hilarious portrait of forty-something manhood in contemporary Barcelona, the film follows chance encounters between old friends, acquaintances, ex-spouses and potential lovers to form an engrossing series of six intertwined tales of love. It is not a film about guns, it is a film about 'guns' - the wry metaphorical type - as the film cunningly reveals.
Wry is the term that is most often used when referring to this film, and it is an apt one. This film could be the wryest production of anything ever. The vignettes each bring a snappy and witty extended dialogue that is wholly engrossing, entertaining and thought provoking. Some of the tales across the love-stoked city recall Woody Allen, others are uniquely Spanish and spurned by fiery passion and candid recounts that conclude in a wholly unexpected way. This is a romantic comedy, slanted to project and smash the masculine idealism, which it does to often hilarious effect. There is a lot of cultural commentary happening in the film that will be missed by viewers, but the film does its best to make everything somewhat relatable.
The cast is perfect, and include the most notable names in contemporary Spanish-language cinema. Director Cesc Gay brings out the best in his collated cast, from Ricardo Darin to Luis Tosar, these are affable, intelligent chaps whose company is a great pleasure indeed. There are no weak links in the proceedings, every story resonates and each supporting character is vital to the telling of the tale. The director playfully inhabits each character, twisting expectation and satire to deliver a blokes perspective on sex and all things that are confusing regarding women.
Although literally just conversations with unnamed men, this film is such a cheeky joy to watch. Note that each woman has a stronger role in each story and fully realised personas including a full name. This may not sound like anything special but when the men are listed as alphabet letters, the prominence of the alternate gender skew is prominent and powerful. Even if you are not a forty-something in crisis, you can certainly appreciate where they are coming from, and laugh generously at their misfortunes and skewed take on things.