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The Way of the Gun

Theatrical poster
Directed by Christopher McQuarrie
Produced by Kenneth Kokin
Written by Christopher McQuarrie
Starring Benicio del Toro
Ryan Phillippe
James Caan
Juliette Lewis
Taye Diggs
Nicky Katt
Geoffrey Lewis
Music by Joe Kraemer
Cinematography Dick Pope
Editing by Stephen Semel
Distributed by Artisan Entertainment
Release date(s) September 8, 2000
Running time 119 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $21,000,000
Gross revenue $13,069,740 (Worldwide)

The Way of the Gun is a 2000 American film, directed by Christopher McQuarrie and starring Ryan Phillippe, Benicio del Toro, Juliette Lewis, Taye Diggs, Nicky Katt, and James Caan. It is considered a cult film.[1] To date, this is the only film that McQuarrie has directed.

Contents

Plot

Parker (Ryan Phillippe) and Longbaugh (Benicio del Toro) are two born troublemakers who travel anywhere they can to find or steal money any way they can. While at a sperm donation facility, they overhear a telephone conversation detailing a $1,000,000 payment to a surrogate mother for bearing the unborn baby of Hal Chidduck (Scott Wilson). Parker and Longbaugh resolve to kidnap the pregnant surrogate, Robin (Juliette Lewis). At the pregnancy clinic the kidnapping of the surrogate mother escalates into a shootout with her bodyguards, Jeffers (Taye Diggs) and Obecks (Nicky Katt), as Parker and Longbaugh leave with her. After the shootout in which two other guards and bystanders are killed, they escape with Robin and elude Jeffers and Obecks, who are arrested. As the fugitives head South, Jeffers and Obecks are bailed out and returned to Chidduck by Joe Sarno (James Caan), a seasoned operative and close friend of Chidduck. As Sarno begins coordinating the rescue of Robin, Longbaugh contacts Robin's gynecologist, Dr. Allen Painter (Dylan Kussman) and orders him to a truck stop to examine Robin.

After the examination, Painter returns to Chidduck, and it is revealed that Dr. Painter is Chidduck's son.

Longbaugh calls and demands a $15 million ransom for the safe return of Robin and the baby. Jeffers and Obecks, tempted by the money, begin forming a plan to save the child, keep the $15 million for themselves, and kill everyone under the guise of paying off the kidnappers. As Longbaugh hangs up the telephone outside a Mexican motel, he is approached by Sarno, who offers to pay $1 million if they surrender the pregnant Robin and simply walk away. Sarno reveals to Longbaugh that his daughter has something in the works, promising to take care of the old man. Longbaugh declines the offer and returns to his hotel room where Parker and Robin play cards. Sarno then returns to Chidduck's home to relay the events and plan the next step.

Jeffers and Obecks realize that Sarno is a wild card in this affair, and Jeffers comes to realize that Robin is Sarno's daughter. Jeffers, Obecks and Painter leave to meet with the kidnappers, while Sarno departs separately with the $15 million ransom. At the motel, Parker is having second thoughts on the kidnapping, he confers with Longbaugh outside the motel room which gives Robin an opportunity to seize a shotgun and barricade herself in the motel room after almost shooting Parker.

As sirens are heard in the distance, Parker and Longbaugh hastily escape, and Robin emerges into the parking lot just as Mexican police officers arrive, followed by Jeffers, Obecks and Painter in another car. As Painter and the bodyguards try to persuade Robin to leave with them, the officers pull their guns and order everybody on the ground. Suddenly, Parker and Longbaugh open fire from a nearby hilltop, igniting a fierce firefight that kills the two officers before Jeffers shoves Painter and Robin into his car and drives off, leaving the dead officers and a wounded Obecks in the motel parking lot.

Parker and Longbaugh torture the wounded Obecks to gain Robin's location, while Jeffers confines Robin in the room of a secluded Mexican brothel and forces Painter to perform a cesarian section on her to retrieve the baby, despite Robin's confession that the child was conceived between her and Painter and is not Chidduck's. During the operation, the heavily-armed Parker and Longbaugh infiltrate the brothel and search for Robin. The ensuing ambush, that leaves Parker wounded, turns into another standoff with Jeffers threatening to kill Painter and the baby before Painter kills Jeffers with a hidden gun. Outside the brothel, Sarno arrives with a group of bag men and the $15 million ransom, which they stack in the courtyard. Parker wants to kidnap Robin and Painter again, to which Longbaugh, guilt ridden after seeing her condition, says "She's had enough". Despite realizing that the $15 million is bait, Parker and Longbaugh charge headlong into an ambush.

All of Sarno's men are killed in the ensuing gunfight. However, Sarno manages to shoot and cripple the already wounded Parker and Longbaugh, and then calls for an ambulance. As a child's cries break the silence, Painter emerges with Robin, newborn baby in her arms. Lying in a pool of blood, Parker and Longbaugh call out to Sarno, informing him that the baby is in fact Robin and Painter's, and thus Sarno's own grandson. Painter wonders aloud if this fact will influence Sarno to let them keep the child. Robin and her baby are then taken away in the ambulance with Painter, Sarno and the $15 million, leaving Parker and Longbaugh to bleed out.

Miles away and days later, Chidduck's wife reveals that she's pregnant (possibly from Jeffers, with whom she was having an affair).

Production

After winning an Academy Award for The Usual Suspects, Christopher McQuarrie assumed that he would have no problem making his next movie "and then you slowly start to realize no one in Hollywood is interested in making your film, they're interested in making their films".[2] He spent years as a script doctor while trying to get financing for an epic biopic of Alexander the Great for Warner Brothers before finally realizing that he "had to make a film with some commercial success to be taken seriously".[3] He approached 20th Century Fox and told them that he would be willing to write and direct a movie for any budget they would be willing to give him as long as he had complete creative control. "Fox told me to get fucked. No money. No control. No nothing. They didn't want my input, they just wanted me. For nothing".[3]

McQuarrie met Benicio del Toro for coffee and he asked the screenwriter why he had not made another crime film. McQuarrie replied that he did not want to be typecast as "a crime guy"[3] but realized that he had nothing to lose, "unemployed and ready to make trouble".[3] Del Toro convinced him to write a crime film on his own terms because he would get the least amount of interference from a studio. McQuarrie was interested in making a movie "that you can follow characters who don't go out of their way to ingratiate themselves to you, who aren't traditionally sympathetic".[2]

McQuarrie started to write the script and "the first thing I did was to write a list of every taboo, everything I knew a cowardly executive would refuse to accept from a 'sympathetic' leading man".[2] The first ten pages were a prologue, a trailer to another movie with Parker and Longbaugh (the real last names of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and was "to be shot as slick and hip as possible. Guy Ritchie and Michael Bay but with horrible, unspeakable acts of violence and degradation".[3] During pre-production, McQuarrie realized that this was too extreme and cut it out. He and del Toro gave the script to several high-profile actors at the time all of whom turned them down. Ryan Phillippe wanted to change the direction of his career and "was besieged with choice offers, and we didn't want him, but he would not take no for an answer".[3]

Although he originally had a considerable amount of dialogue in the film, del Toro suggested that the "less is more" approach might work better for his character Longbaugh. The gun battle sequences throughout the film were choreographed by McQuarrie's brother, a former Navy SEAL. Much of the film was filmed in the streets of downtown Salt Lake City. The ground-level floor of the doctor's office where the abduction scene and shootout was filmed is actually the historic Salt Lake Hardware building.

Reaction

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film two-and-a-half stars out of four and wrote, "McQuarrie pulls, pummels and pushes us, makes his characters jump through hoops, and at the end produces carloads of 'bag men' who have no other function than to pop up and be shot at ... Enough, already".[4] In his review for the New York Times, Elvis Mitchell wrote, "It's a song you've heard before, but each chord is hit with extraordinary concentration".[5] Andy Seiler praised James Caan's performance in his review for USA Today, "To hear Caan menacingly intone 'I can promise you a day of reckoning you will not live long enough to never forget' is to remember why this man is a star".[6] In his review for the Village Voice, J. Hoberman wrote, "Phillippe talks like Brando; Del Toro apes the body language. Nevertheless, James Caan steals the movie as a veteran tough guy, rotating his torso around some unseen truss".[7] Peter Stack, in his review for San Francisco Chronicle, wrote, "The Way of the Gun attempts to be poetical Peckinpah, but it's a pointless exercise in gun violence with characterizations so thin they vaporize".[8] Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B" rating and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "The Way of the Gun plays like an unusually ritzy festival circuit audition film, though McQuarrie, it must be said, aces the audition".[9] In his review for Time, Richard Corliss criticized McQuarrie for devising, "a two-hour gunfight interrupted by questions of paternity. But he's not so hot as a director, so what aims at being terrifying is just loud and goofy".[10]

References

  1. ^ AV Club - The New Cult Canon - The Way of the Gun
  2. ^ a b c Olsen, Mark (November 2000). "Fist in the Face". Sight and Sound.  
  3. ^ a b c d e f Konow, David (September/October 2000). "The Way of the Screenwriter: An Interview with Christopher McQuarrie". Creative Screenwriting.  
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (September 8, 2000). "The Way of the Gun". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20000908/REVIEWS/9080305/1023. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  
  5. ^ Mitchell, Elvis (September 8, 2000). "A Noir Story of Guns Always at the Ready". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/09/08/arts/08GUN.html?ex=1229317200&en=8ebfedb18ee57d02&ei=5070. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  
  6. ^ Seiler, Andy (September 8, 2000). "Weaving this Way and that for thrills". USA Today.  
  7. ^ Hoberman, J (September 5, 2000). "Desperate Remedies". Village Voice. http://www.villagevoice.com/2000-09-05/film/desperate-remedies/1. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  
  8. ^ Stack, Peter (September 8, 2000). "The Way of the Gun". San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2000/09/08/DD55801.DTL. Retrieved 2008-12-14.  
  9. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (September 1, 2000). "The Way of the Gun". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,64895,00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-17.  
  10. ^ Corliss, Richard (September 11, 2000). "The Way of the Gun". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,997942,00.html. Retrieved 2008-12-17.  

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Way of the Gun is a 2000 film about two criminal drifters without sympathy who get more than they bargained for after kidnapping and holding for ransom the surrogate mother of a powerful and shady man.

Written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie.

Contents

Parker

  • There is a natural order. The way things are meant to be. An order that says the good guys always win, that you die when it's your time or when you have it coming, that the ending is always happy-if only for someone else. Now at some point it became clear that our path had been chosen for us and we had nothing to offer the world. Our options narrowing down to petty crime or minimum wage, so we stepped off the path and went looking for the fortune that we knew was looking for us. Once off the path you do what you can to eat, keep moving. You don't blow your ghost of a chance with nickel and dime, no possessions, no comforts. Need is the ultimate monkey. A pint of your blood can fetch you fifty bucks, a shot of cum—three grand. You keep your life simple and you can literally self sustain.
  • I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen.
  • The longest distance between two points is a kidnapper and his money.
  • We don't want your forgiveness; we won't make excuses. We're not gonna blame you, even if you are an accessory, but we will not accept your natural order. We didn't come for absolution, we didn't ask to be redeemed, but isn't that the way it is? Every goddamn time. Your prayers are always answered, in the order they're received.

Longbaugh

  • There's always free cheese in a mousetrap.
  • A heart is the only thing that has value. If you have one, get rid of it.
  • You know what I'm gonna tell God when I see him? I'm gonna tell him I was framed.

Others

  • I can promise you a day of reckoning you won't live long enough to never forget. - Joe Sarno
  • Karma is justice without the satisfaction. I don't believe in justice. - Joe Sarno
  • [To his dying friend] To let live.
  • You want to know the only thing you can assume about a broken down old man? It's that he's a survivor. - Joe Sarno
  • I'd never ask you to trust me. It's the cry of a guilty soul. - Hal Chidduck
  • [In regard to her baby] When you think about deaf people. About being deaf. How would they know what to call their mother or their reflection. That's what I call it. There's no name. - Robin Sarno
  • We have to consider the woman to be as much a threat as the two men. My only main concern now is for the child. - Jeffers
  • Creative articulation my good man. - Obecks
  • She's gotta big mouth, but she aint kidding. I'm gonna whip ya silly and I'm gonna fuck ya stupid. You wanna do the man dance, first dance is yours. - Whipped Night Clubber

Dialogue

Employee: What would you say qualifies you as a donor?
Parker: Well, I'd say I'm a fairly intelligent, good-looking man, physically fit, stable…
Employee: Ok... heterosexual?
Parker: [pause] Can I ask you something?
Employee: Sure.
Parker: Are you a faggot?
[The employee, taken aback, doesn't respond.]
Parker: See, you asked me if I was heterosexual. I asked you the same question, only I was clear about the answer I was looking for.
Employee: I just asked if you were heterosexual.

Longbaugh: Well, I've never killed a man…
Employee: I beg your pardon?
Longbaugh: I said I've never killed a man.
Employee: I didn't ask if you had.
Longbaugh: You asked me why I think I was qualified, and I think that's qualification.
Employee: And I'm just wondering why that in particular strikes you as an important qualification for semen donation.
Longbaugh: I would say that's a big fucking qualifica—excuse me, a very important qualification.
Employee: No one's ever said that before…
Longbaugh: Have you ever asked?
Employee: No.
Longbaugh: You should.

[While kidnapping a pregnant woman named Robin in the hospital]
Parker: Alright guys I want this to go down nice and quiet. So put the guns down.
[The bodyguards do not respond]
Parker: Come on guys this is no good.
Longbaugh: Hey man.
Parker: What?
Longbaugh: The people!
Parker: Can't you people see we have guns here?
[The people do not move]
Parker: ...Get the fuck out! Get out!
[After everyone leaves]
Parker: Alright guys, come on we've got you dead to it. Now I am gonna count to three.
[The guards cock their guns]
Longbaugh: Ah fuck.
Parker: What the fuck are you doing. You're supposed to be protecting her.
[The guards lower their guns down to Robin's stomach.]
Longbuagh: Ah fuck. Man, what'd I tell you.
Robin: Walk away. Walk away. They don't care about dying, just losing. You're not gonna make it out of here alive. Someone could've called the cops by now, you know they're gonna come! Just walk away.

Parker:[A gun to Robin's stomach] Do you love this baby?
Robin:[Shaken] Yes!
Parker: Then you walk.

Sarno: So are you the brains of the op, or is he?
Longbaugh: To tell you the truth I don't think this is a brains kind of operation.

Longbaugh: But, you know, then you got the other side. You got these trigger-happy cocksuckers all about the shooting and posturing and 'you don't know who I am' kind of thing...”I been to prison."
Sarno: 'Cause you got caught, dumb fuck.
Longbaugh: These days, they want to be criminals more than they want to commit crime.
Joe Sarno: Well that's... that's not just crime. That's the way of the world.

Chidduck: Do you believe in Karma?
Sarno: Karma is justice without the satisfaction. I don't believe in justice.

Longbaugh: Who are you?
Sarno: I'm the guy you might meet one night. When you wake up with a pillow over your head. And the only you hear is a little bang.
Longbaugh: You're a bag man.

Jeffers: What?
Obecks: Well, I'm just talking here... but by their design, all we really need to come back with is the baby... think about it... no money, no perps, no nothing. We could kill these two fucks, take the money, bring Chidduck his baby, and say it all went well.
Jeffers: Well... mostly well.
Obecks: What? The girl?
Jeffers: Yeah.
Obecks: Well when she doesn't show up in a couple of months, it'll be assumed she ate a bullet and they made off for fucking Bolivia... damn it... it doesn't work. The doc...
Jeffers: The doctor gets shot in the fray...
Obecks: Right...
Jeffers: We tried to help him, but it was either him or the baby. He was alive when we took off, and must have died crawling for help in the desert.
Obecks: Creative articulation my good man.
Jeffers: Just talking of course...
Obecks: Sure.

[Longbaugh nearly shooting Robin with a sniper rifle]
Parker: Christ, you almost hit her!
Longbaugh: If I wanna hit her I'll hit her. If I wanna miss I'll miss.

[Parker and Longbaugh are torturing Obecks with barbed wire]
Parker: In a few minutes I'm gonna pull your fingernails out and leave you to think about em. Then I'll cut your eyelids off. Then from time to time I'll pour gasoline in your eyeballs to keep you from passing out. Bottom line guy, I'm gonna ask you one question then I'm never gonna ask you again. Where did they take the girl.
Obecks: I don't know.
[They continue torturing him]

[After Parker is shot by Jeffers]
Longbaugh: Can you walk?
Parker: Only if we can get this cocksucker.

[Parker and Longbaugh are about to enter a shootout]
Longbaugh: What do you think?
Parker: I think a plan is just a list of things that don't happen.
Longbaugh: If we die we die alone.

[After they are both wounded in the gunfight]
Parker: Are you alright?
Longbaugh: [Quietly] I'm still here.
Parker: Are you still with me?
Longbaugh: [Sighs] Yeah! [Bullet strikes near his head]

Longbaugh: [Dying] Until that day then.
Sarno: [Walking away] Till that day.

Cast

External links

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