Monday, April 03, 2006

Bill's Gun Shop

Bill’s Gun Shop, from Polychrome Picture and Dangerous Films (2001), directed by Dean Lincoln Hyers, produced by J. Michael Tabor, written by Rob Nilsson, starring Scott Cooper, John Ashton, Victor Rivers, Tom Bower, James Keene, Carolyn Hauck, Sage, Jacy Dummermuth.
Seen at the Heights Theater in Minneapolis, in 2001
Again. The independent, locally produced film (this was shot on location in the Twin Cities and in southern Minnesota) imparts an urgency and tension lacking in the glitz and polish from bigger operations (and, again, why does Hollywood have to cover up real companies and real locations when small filmmakers don’t?). In fact, the film has stunning photography (seems wide screen) and a pinpoint digital sound track. And we identify with the 23-year old Dillon McCarty (Scott Cooper), starting out his adult life with a bit of personal schism, between being a mild-mannered (almost impotent) “good guy” and wanting to emulate his movie-star police heroes and marshals. He goes to work for a gun shop and gradually sinks into a rather scary world. (I didn’t know that gun shop employees are expected to wear guns going to and coming from work.) Eventually he goes on a bounty run and has to get himself out of an impossible situation, generating a lot of rooting interest from the audience. This film played to a full house at the Heights Theater, and comes across as a level-headed treatment of guns and self-defense for mainstream Americans (the film also covers racial tensions pointedly), and not just an activity on the rightwing fringe.

1 comment:

Dean Hyers of SAGE said...

Nice to see your blog on this movie. I happen to be the film's director, and I appreciate your comments, especially, "I didn't know gun store employees were expected to wear their guns to and from work." An interesting note is that gunstore employees I interviewed told me they all wore their guns to and from work, and that entering and leaving a gun store was their most vulnerable moment in relation to gunstore robbery. But that isn't why Bill (the gunstore owner character) voiced that requirement of his new hire in the movie. We included that line because the real gunstore owner we based Bill on knew that getting to carry a gun was the biggest leverage he had on his employees. These young men loved carrying a gun and he could hook college-educated workers at low pay because he offered them a chance to be armed on the job. That, and I think he liked the idea that his 8-buck-an-hour employees should put their life on the line to protect his business. The screenwriter, Rob Nilsson and I liked that quality in the real gunstore owner, and included a touch of him in the Bill character John Ashton played.

Dean Hyers