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Handguns figure in the intertwining lives of nine people. Warren shoots his wife Helen's lover and his defense is that he thought he was shooting an intruder. She leaves him; the lawyer helps her get a job with a nutty, reclusive computer wizard who waves a pistol about, sometimes at Helen. Tennel, the computer geek's ex-assistant, lands a video-store job and is smitten by Annabel Lee, an aggressive street kid who likes complaining about men to her pistol-packing psychotic brother to set him off. In secret, Annabel starts an affair with the lawyer, who has both a pistol and a gay lover, who becomes jealous. He has a pistol too. A cool (and armed) cop stays on Warren's tail. Written by
Uneven satire; powerful edgy critique of the American ethos with a shaky story.
To be taken seriously only as political satire. Quite humorous and edgy, with a sharp script, but spotty continuity in the narrative. Almost more a cartoon than a good story.
None of the characters are believable, which is OK, as they seem to be distillations of types. All of the men in this film are horrible--I wouldn't want a friend or a relative among them. Women are treated as victims, more or less, what spare representation there is of women, though both Joan Allen and Anna Paquin are wonderful in these highly stylized roles.
Jeff Daniels's performance, as are those of most of the other men, are masterpieces of underacting. Gary Sinise and Giovanni Ribisi are given grand opportunities to chew up the scenery, which one may have every expectation either will do, literally, at any moment.
It seems to me this is also less about guns than it is about how guns are a horrible and all too real manifestation of those things--far more terrible and dark--that may have become by now an inalterable part of the American (that is, the U.S. American) character. Some other themes, besides casual (and not so casual) violence--twisted attitudes toward sexuality, the vagaries of the over-hot infotech culture, and our inability to perceive our own psychological deficiencies--are not well integrated.
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