American Gun Release Date: 2002 Genre: Drama Director: Alan Jacobs (Nina Takes a Lover) Writer: Alan Jacobs Starring: James Coburn Starring the late James Coburn, American Gun cannot be reviewed without bringing up the term double-edged sword. It’s that kind of movie that’s interesting, but in all reality, it’s not. It’s that kind of movie […]

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American Gun
Release Date: 2002
Genre: Drama
Director: Alan Jacobs (Nina Takes a Lover)
Writer: Alan Jacobs
Starring: James Coburn

Starring the late James Coburn, American Gun cannot be reviewed without bringing up the term double-edged sword. It’s that kind of movie that’s interesting, but in all reality, it’s not. It’s that kind of movie that feels like a theatrical release, but in all reality, would be better suited as an above average TV movie. The topic of the movie is interesting, and the way it’s told is captivating at times, but in all reality, there’s just an insurmountable amount of unneeded footage thrown in that completely alters your perception on the film. It’s just one of those films.

Coburn plays a kind Grandfather who is mourning the loss of his daughter to a trigger-happy robber. When the robber got away, he wound up dropping his gun, and all that’s left for him to make a valiant attempt to hunt down the murderer is the firearm’s serial numbers. Using only the compassion of those who he comes into contact with, he travels all over the country, going from gun owner to gun owner in an attempt to trace the gun back to the murderer. While doing this he narrates letters to his departed daughter, all the while learning the hardships of dealing with such heavy grief.

Sounds like a half decent plot, right? Yeah, it is. But the way in which director Alan Jacobs chooses to tell the story is just flawed to the utmost degree. Eight minutes or so of American Gun compromises of flashbacks to Coburn in his war days, and it has absolutely no relevance to the movie whatsoever. Plus, the whole angle with his granddaughter, while interesting, doesn’t really have much bearing on his decisions. I wouldn’t say that helping the girl assisted Coburn in getting over his grief, and as a result, coming to the shocking (and I say that with half-sarcasm, half-seriousness) conclusion that no one really expected, nor wanted. I won’t spoil it, but let me just mention that it brings weak politics into things, making it seem more and more like a made-for-TV movie as the plot winds down.

DVD: The only extra here is a substantial one, being a forty-four minute, A&E Biography of James Coburn. Dare I say that this documentary is more engaging than the film at times?

Coburn gives a tremendous performance, and the documentary is very touching. Everything else is a completely different story.

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American Gun, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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