It is interesting to compare this film to “No Country for Old Men,” which is strikingly similar, but which doesn’t avert its gaze from its content in the way that WOTG does. Where “No Country” looks right into the eyes of its characters, everyone in “Way of the Gun” seems to be squinting and holding back.
Almost every character in “Way of the Gun” is given extreme significance with regard to the plot. Everyone is related to everyone else in too calculated a way. It is hard to ignore the mind of the writer that is behind these characters and their scenes.
But I enjoyed many moments in it. And there is a strong draw to the two drifter characters that step in way over their heads by kidnapping a pregnant woman (Juliette Lewis) connected to powerful men that have connections to the mafia. At first, these drifters are detached emotionally and spiritually from their lives and the lives of their victims. They are mostly concerned with moving from one day into the next, and having enough food to eat. They ask each other BIG questions about the existence of God, and wonder out loud about how God might respond to them. But there are moments of vulnerability for these characters in which their questions suddenly go much deeper than detached speculation.
Some lines I jotted down from this movie:
– “Don’t think. Just do.”
– “There’s always free cheese in a mouse trap.”
– “A plan is just a list of things that don’t happen.”
– “A woman is always looking for security. Like a man is always looking for affirmation.”
And then there are the final words of one of the drifters, Mr. Parker (Ryan Phillippe); his voice-over narration brings the film to a close. Throughout the film, he and Mr. Longbaugh (Del Toro) have been deciding what they will say to God when they die. Prior to the final scene of the film, Mr. Parker confesses that he is unable to sleep at night until he prays “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep,” which is a prayer that one of his first victims prayed just before Mr. Parker shot him.
“We don’t want your forgiveness. We won’t make excuses. We are not going to blame you, even if you are an accessory. But we will not accept your natural order. We didn’t come for absolution. We didn’t ask to be redeemed. But isn’t that the way it is? Every Goddamn time. Your prayers are always answered in the order they are received.”