Monday, January 4, 2010

The Gunrunner

(Nardo Castillo, 1989)
This salvage job sat on the shelf for five years waiting for Kevin Costner to get famous, and the doctors mainly applied themselves to the surface - it's so smooth and tidy it seems pasteurized. Too bad about the content. A period tale of a commie-sympathizer with family troubles - who does more rum-running than gunrunning and not too damn much of that - its vast problems inhere in its absences. The jarringly discontinuous narrative tilts at themes of justice and honor in its spare time, but scene follows scene without the slightest sense of purpose, let alone momentum. Those secondary characters that don't vanish outright are as remote and unreadable as the camerawork, which is maddeningly reliant on master shots - this is one of the least cinematic pieces of cinema I've ever seen. While Costner's incongruously modern, cool blandness does nothing to jolt the movie out of its torpor, even he fares better than poor Sara Botsford, saddled with a halloween flapper costume and Esperanto accent. Her usual clipped murmur almost disappears entirely beneath the street noise and foot-shuffling of the awful location sound, and her big reveal at the end is embarrassingly stupid and perfunctory.

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