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1 item from 2002


Triggermen

3 December 2002 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Overseas FilmGroup

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- An atypically fine cast has been assembled for this low-budget Canadian comic-thriller, which sacrifices thrills in favor of off-kilter humor and quirky characterizations. While "Triggermen" too often recalls many previous examples of this now thoroughly worked-over genre, it does offer some diverting fun along the way as well as amusing portrayals by a gallery of familiar faces. The film received its U.S. premiere at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival.

The least-known thespians on display are the two leads, British actors Adrian Dunbar ("The Crying Game") and Neil Morrissey ("Men Behaving Badly"). They play Andy and Pete, two small-time British crooks who stumble onto a windfall while staying at a Chicago hotel. Mistaken for the two hit men who have been hired by a local hoodlum Louis Di Bianco) to bump off crime boss Ben Cutler (Pete Postlethwaite), the pair take his money and string him along, trying to figure out how to maximize their good fortune without actually killing anybody. Their plans are complicated by the arrival of the two real triggermen, Terry (Donnie Wahlberg) and Tommy (Michael Rapaport), who are necessarily confused by the two interlopers. Romantic entanglements also figure prominently in the plot, with Andy's girlfriend (Amanda Plummer) haranguing him from overseas and Terry falling for the gorgeous Emma (Claire Forlani), who turns out to be the intended victim's daughter.

Tony Johnston's screenplay does a reasonably good job of handling the story line's complicated twists and turns but is less effective in treading the fine line between comedy and menace that is this genre's specialty. While there are more than a few funny lines -- Rapaport's hit man admonishing his neglectful partner that "This brings up my abandonment issues" is priceless, especially with the actor's deadpan delivery -- too often the script resorts to silliness for its own sake. Director John Bradshaw has attempted to enliven the proceedings with a variety of flashy photographic and editing tricks (freeze frames, speeded-up footage, etc.), which too often prove more distracting than illuminating.

The piece is ultimately rescued by the fine cast, which also includes Saul Rubinek in an entertaining cameo as a coked-up hood. Postlethwaite invests his portrayal with his usual grim dignity, Wahlberg is endearing as the lovestruck hit man, Rapaport underplays hilariously as his partner, and Dunbar and Morrissey form a solid comic team as the bumbling leads. The film also benefits tremendously from the well-chosen soundtrack of vintage rock and pop gems.

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1 item from 2002


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