Thursday, July 15, 2021

Die in a Gunfight

The Gibbons and the Rathcarts are feuding media families, sort of like the Murdochs and the Bloombergs, but when the latter hires a hitman to dispose of a whistleblower, they do not prohibit the use of firearms. Obviously, the two families are transparently inspired by the Montagues and Capulets, especially given the star-crossed love of Ben Gibbons and Mary Rathcart. Their parents are determined to keep them apart, but love and fate keeps bringing them back together in Collin Schiffli’s Die in a Gunfight, which releases Friday in theaters and on-demand.

Ben Gibbons was immature, rebellious, and self-destructive, until he and Mary Rathcart fell head over heels for each other. Unfortunately, he reverted to his old ways when their parents separated them and severed all contact. Now, Rathcart is back from the Parisian boarding school where she was stashed. Initially, they are standoffish, assuming they ghosted each other, but soon the old magic is rekindled.

Of course, their parents aren’t having it, especially Don Rathcart. He already has Terrence Uberahl, his weaselly enforcer, contracting a hit on a former employee turned states’ evidence, so he might as well add Romeo Gibbons into the workflow. It is personal for Uberahl, since he covets Juliet Rathcart for himself. However, the assassin turns out to be a bit unpredictable.

Timing is everything. Had
Die in a Gunfight been released in1990, it might be legendary. Billy Crudup’s narration and the animated interludes are surprisingly fun and funny. Unfortunately, Diego Boneta and Alexandra Daddario have iffy chemistry as the sabotaged lovers. They are consistently upstaged by Wade Allain-Marcus, who gets most of the film’s laughs as Mukul, Gibbons’ Horatio, to mix the Shakespearean metaphors. On the other hand, the squirreliness of Justin Chatwin’s Uberahl is just a weird strategy.

Regardless, we have seen this kind of hyper-ironic violent hipster comedy before, but Schiffli keeps it all pretty snappy. The energy is strong and Magdalena Gorka’s colorful cinematography is reminiscent of comic art. It is far from classic, but it will not bore you. Okay as a late-night couch-crashing stream, but not something you would want to order at a premium price,
Die in a Gunfight releases tomorrow (7/16) in theaters and on-demand.