Written & directed by Gigi Gaston, 9 Bullets is a tough watch from beginning to end despite Lena Headey putting in her best effort to elevate it.
Imagine someone is at the shooting range and is about to go through a section of targets that are no less than one foot away. The bullseye is so clear and visible that it would be an absolute embarrassment if one missed it. The shot, or nine, is taken and the bullseye is missed after every single shot. that is 9 Bullets in a nutshell. Written and directed by Gigi Gaston, 9 Bullets is a tough watch from beginning to end despite Lena Headey putting in her best effort to elevate the picture to something passable.
The film follows the tough-as-nails — and poorly named — Gypsy (Headey), a burlesque dancer who is writing a memoir. She is about to embark on a new journey of self-discovery and change when her friend, Ralph (Zachary Mooren), calls one night in a panic because he and his family are in danger. Ralph has stolen an iPad containing bank codes, which have put him in the crosshairs of a gang leader named Jack (Sam Worthington). Jack, a career criminal who threatens to shoot defenseless dogs, happens to be Gypsy’s sadistic ex. Now, Gypsy and Ralph’s son Sam (Dean Scott Vazquez) must flee from Jack’s men who pursue them relentlessly.
9 Bullets opens with a bizarre and incoherent set-up that is both laughably bad and also spells out what to expect from the rest of the film. It opens with wistful shots of a woman on her porch reminiscing as she looks inside a box of memories. Headey’s Gypsy looks up to the sky declaring she wo n’t “f*ck it up” before the film cuts to her scenes from her at her final burlesque show from her. Without any setup, Ralph frantically calls his young son and tells him there is an emergency and that he needs to run. Ralph’s wife and, presumably, his mother-in-law are shot dead in their vehicle as Ralph makes another call to Gypsy to help his son and stop Jack. The editing and framing of this entire sequence are done so haphazardly that it can only be assumed the film’s production was rushed. Believing this is an intentionally made project would make it all the more upsetting.
The film attempts to have the heartfelt narrative of two broken souls coming together to make their own found family, but it is wrapped in a convoluted mess of a plot that is largely missing a clear vision. Gypsy is dealing with a lot—namely, being entangled with the menace that is Jack. Overlooking the obvious coincidence of Sam and Gypsy being neighbors, the film is at its best when it does focus on the two and their paint-by-numbers story. It is the elements that surround their circumstances that muddy the project and leave the audience befuddled about what it is they are meant to be watching.
Putting further strain on the project is the lackluster performance from Sam Worthington. The actor’s talent and skill are underwhelming and, when paired with the likes of Headey who, no matter the project, elevates the material, Worthington’s shortcomings are more heavily illuminated. Furthermore, the narrative regarding Gypsy and Jack is its own movie and 9 Bullets would have been better off if Gypsy were in trouble sans the kid. An action-drama about a woman exiting a toxic relationship by her skin of her teeth would have been far more befitting.
On paper, 9 Bullets has an interesting narrative about a woman who isn’t just trying to outrun her past but instead tries to come to terms with it. Contrasting the sweet, lovable bonding moments between Gypsy and Sam with scenes that reflect her toxic past de ella with Jack creates a full picture of her complexities de ella, but the film’s execution undermines everything about it. There is a mishandling of the darker themes and scenes that make them laughably awkward when they appear. Subpar acting, muggy cinematography, an even script, and choppy editing are merely the tip of the iceberg of issues present throughout. in the end, 9 Bullets is a bewildering adventure that misfires so badly and is not worth the watch.
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9 Bullets released in theaters and on-demand Friday, April 22. The film is 100 minutes long and is not rated.
- 9Bullets (2022)Release date: Apr 22, 2022
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