Review: ‘Gunless’

'Gunless'

An amiable if toothless Canadian satire of Hollywood Westerns, "Gunless" spoofs a type of romantic oater so old-fashioned that the result feels more nostalgic than parodic.

An amiable if toothless Canadian satire of Hollywood Westerns, “Gunless” spoofs a type of romantic oater so old-fashioned that the result feels more nostalgic than parodic. Taking the violent-gunslinger-vs.-peaceable-Quakers template, seen in old chestnuts like “The Angel and the Badman,” and recasting it as an American-Canadian culture clash, helmer William Phillips seems content to affably play out genre conventions, supplying occasional lightweight gags. Framed against widescreen British Columbian landscapes, an engaging cast delivers laid-back nationalistic humor too innocuous to enthuse auds in Gotham, where the pic bowed July 15.

When the Montana Kid (Canuck “Due South” star Paul Gross) rides into the sleepy town of Barclay’s Brush, horse-tied and trailing the rope that failed to hang him, he encounters niceness so extreme it makes him suspiciously draw his gun on everyone trying to help him (“What’s with you people anyway?”). Accustomed to conversing only with his horse, he now finds himself interacting with a klutzy do-right Mountie (Dustin Milligan), the Mountie’s Indian guide (Graham Greene), a doctor, a blacksmith, assorted Chinese railroad workers and a sexy, spirited widow (Sienna Guillory), even as he’s stalked by heartless bounty hunters.

Gunless

Canada

Production

An Alliance Films presentation of a Rhombus Media, Brightlight Pictures production with the participation of Telefilm Canada, Corus Entertainment, Astral Media. Produced by Niv Fichman, Steven Hegyes, Shawn Williamson. Executive producers, Victor Loewy, Mark Slone. Directed, written by William Phillips.

Crew

Camera (color, widescreen), Gregory Middleton; editor, Susan Maggi; music, Greg Keelor; production designer, Matthew Budgeon; costume designer, Beverley Wowchuk. Reviewed at Quad Cinema, New York, July 16, 2011. Running time: 89 MIN.

With

Paul Gross, Sienna Guillory, Dustin Milligan, Tyler Mane, Callum Keith Rennie, Graham Greene, Jay Brazeau, Michael Eklund, Chang Tseng, Melody B. Choi.
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