Guns Akimbo

Guns Akimbo is a great example of how talented people can turn guilty pleasure entertainment on its ear.

In his most outrageous departure yet, Daniel Radcliffe plays a spectacular failure named Miles.  How pathetic is Miles, you ask?  He can’t even post anonymously during an evening of internet trolling.  What’s worse is that his bad habit intrigues the punks behind Skizm, an extreme game that pits criminals and vagabonds against each other for notoriety and admiration from bloodthirsty viewers.  The battles are usually one-on-one, resulting in murder and a winner who will carry on their legacy in the next fight.  The reigning champion is Nix (Ready or Not’s Samara Weaving), who is led on by false promises by Skizm’s crooked creators;  including her most recent duel which secures her freedom if she defeats dweeby Miles.  Should be easy enough for Nix, except Miles is an erratic underdog who now has fully-loaded guns bolted to his hands (courtesy of Skizm).

Guns Akimbo is an insane movie.  Luckily, writer/director Jason Lei Howden is used to insanity – his previous movie Deathgasm was just as bananas.  I liked Deathgasm, but it was wildly inappropriate and, sometimes, had a hard time channeling that immaturity into entertaining qualities.  That fit comes easy for Guns Akimbo, a project that shows Howden’s endurance is improving as he disciplines and paces his off-kilter storytelling. Guns Akimbo could be a lesson for filmmakers who self-proclaim their own “craziness”.  Those directors often decide to hook movie goers with a wild introduction, only to fall back on a lacklustre narrative that doesn’t have enough peaks to match its valleys (see: Robert Rodriguez’s Machete and Machete Kills).  For all of its bawdy flash, Guns Akimbo is controlled enough to keep it on track, while a team of game performers manage to sell us each line, laugh, and gasp.  Radcliffe’s commitment to make the audience feel the wrist-bending recoil from each gunshot is wince-worthy and hilarious.

Guns Akimbo, as grubby and profane as it is, is actually kind of magical.

Shahbaz Khayambashi names Guns Akimbo as one of the best movies of 2019


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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie

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