When the New York journalist Jake Bridges catches his girlfriend with another guy, he goes to Atlantic City to drink himself to oblivion. He is saved from a bar brawl by a small-time ...
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When the New York journalist Jake Bridges catches his girlfriend with another guy, he goes to Atlantic City to drink himself to oblivion. He is saved from a bar brawl by a small-time mobster Frankie, and Jake falls in love with Frankie's girlfriend Melissa. Jake soon also joins Frankie in his money-collecting duties. Written by
Strongarm enforcer Michael Wincott takes alcoholic William Petersen under his wing
"Gunshy" (1998) is a neo-noir that boasts a fresh story, interesting characters, and two fine performances from William Petersen and Michael Wincott. Good support also comes from Wincott's gangster boss, Michael Byrne. Diane Lane does what she can as Wincott's lover who works days as a nurse and gives in for a time to the love desires of Wincott's pal, Petersen. Her part is not drawn as well, which might almost be typical of crime movies written mostly by men that focus on the male characters.
The directions this movie took really surprised me throughout, very pleasantly. I felt it was a noir discovery, as some prior reviewers also have felt. William Petersen follows up his good work as a shaken character in "Manhunter" (1986) with this fine role in which he's an alcoholic writer who has burned out. Now he hangs out in Atlantic City and drinks, that is, until he falls in with a mob enforcer, Michael Wincott. Wincott latches on to the educated Petersen as someone who can open his mind. Before long, they're discussing life and "Moby Dick". It sounds odd, but the script works. Wincott is fantastic in his part, which calls for a wide range. Also before long, Petersen is learning how to be a tough guy and collect on bad debts for the exceedingly dangerous boss, Michael Byrne. Wincott draws the line at killing, but Byrne has someone else more psychopathic for that. And yet Byrne feels that he cannot rely on any of his gang unless he controls them completely. Criminal personalities, criminal situations and gang dynamics work into strong tensions that are best left as surprises to the viewer.
Noir and crime drama fans should like this movie quite a lot.
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