Die in a Gunfight is like mixing theatrical Tarantino with the A-ha 1985 video Take me On and a sprinkle of Baz Luhrmann: the result is surprisingly enjoyable even for those who are not really fans of the genre.
But please, don’t call it a modern Romeo and Juliet, because it is not. True, there are some similarities.
Mary (Alexandra Daddario, Baywatch) and Ben (Diego Boneta, New Order, Luis Miguel: The Series, Rock of Ages) are the daughter and the son of the two biggest media tycoons. Madly in love, each attempt from the families to separate them was in vain. When they meet again, despite the mutual resentment, fruit of misunderstandings, Mary and Ben understand that they can only live without self-destruction if they are united. But, this new awareness triggers a domino of tragic events (because, as Friar Lawrence teaches, “violent delights have violent ends”) that will lead to an epilogue…well, you’ll see, no spoiler here.
Mary and Ben are not two young 16-year-old teens making bad decisions because they are in love. Here we have a caged bird and a heartbroken boy unable to make the pain for Mary abandon to go away; a boy who goes out every night picking fights in the hopes of feeling something, with a death wish.
Even if Ben is so tough from the outside, Mary is the one who, as painful as it was, at one point in her life picked herself up and started to live again. It’s a little bit like when we are heartbroken, so we sleep day and night, and we eat pizza and ice cream in our pajamas for days or sometimes weeks and then, out of the blue, there is a switch, and we say “That’s enough”, and we start living again, with that pain next to us but without letting it take over.
Ben couldn’t, he was hopelessly broken.
Diego Boneta and Alexandra Daddario are the heart of the movie, their chemistry breaks the screen and their acting is able to show so many feelings with just a simple look or an innocent movement that is what a director, in this case Animals’ Collin Schiffli, wish for making a movie Real, with a capitol letter.
At the end of the day, Die in a Gunfight is a love letter to cinema, after a year that nearly killed it, a flicker of hope for its salvation, like love is for Mary and Ben.
“You coming back made me realised that I just wanna be…” “…happy.”
Die in a Gunfight, in select theatres and on demand July 16th, 2021
STARS: * * * *