A Review of 'Gunfighter Paradise': Bibles and weapons make for quite a “trip”

A hunter/shooter struggles to find his true calling while inheriting family heirlooms and encountering various people.

Jun 8, 2024 - 16:14
Jun 8, 2024 - 16:21
A Review of 'Gunfighter Paradise': Bibles and weapons make for quite a “trip”

A Review of ‘Gunfighter Paradise’: Bibles and Weapons Make for quite a “Trip”

Cast: Braz Cubas, Joel Loftin, Alex McWalters, Burk Uzzle, Valient Himself, Christopher Levoy Bower, Margarita Cranke, Pate Leatherman, Jessica Hecht (voice), Robert Hinkle, Michael Craft, B. Kyle Lewis, Richard Buff, Christopher Crumley

Critic’s Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

Director: Jethro Waters

Duration: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Genre: Drama, Comedy, Mystery, Horror

Language: English

Release: 2024

What’s it about?

A hunter/shooter struggles to find his true calling while inheriting family heirlooms and encountering various people.

Review:

Here is an offbeat black comedy infused with doses of surrealism, violence, religion, mystery and drama. Gunfighter Paradise plays out like a curious satire of the U.S.A’s South with its presence of guns, the Bible, gospel music, the drawl and dialect, and rural expanses. While interestingly mounted with a prosaic voice-over, the film's meandering storyline, odd occurrences and unsubstantial supporting characters might confound the viewer. However, the eclectic narrative and atmospheric cinematography are adequate enough to sustain one’s attention.

The protagonist, bearing the unusual name “Stoner” (Braz Cubas), is a sharpshooter who is perennially in combat attire and painted facial camouflage.  He considers himself to be a “shooting instructor” but is clearly bereft of a regular job. Stoner romanticizes the process of discharging his fire-arms, equating it to that of sex. Clearly without a purpose to his life and being a lapsed Baptist Christian, he still believes that God is “talking” to him and setting him up for a mission. 

Meanwhile, his eccentric Uncle Dean (Burk Uzzle) has bequeathed a mysterious case to him, while his recently-deceased mother (voice of Jessica Hecht) has left him her house and a letter containing an alpha-numeric puzzle. Stoner strikes up an apparent friendship with a cable TV/internet installer Joel (Joel Loftin), whom he confides in about all the strange new developments. Stoner also mentions one of his Uncle’s “peculiar” associates - Maurice (Alex McWalters) - who seems to be a loner motorcyclist with a penchant for sniffing fragrances. 

Joel feels that the bereaved Stoner might have gone a little kookie and suggests they go on a drive to find a “couch”. During the trip they spot uniformed vigilantes and come across a rare winter flower with certain powers. But this “detour” fails to offer any real bearing to the film’s plot, other than perhaps justifying some of Stoner’s "experiences" that follow. However, carrying the story forward are Joel’s attempts to decode Stoner’s Mom’s puzzle while Maurice’s destination gradually becomes clear and other mysterious parties enter the scene. 

Known primarily for making music videos and documentaries, writer-director Jethro Waters seems to be having fun with this fictional feature outing. However, the conflicting moods and themes, not to mention a bizarre, abrupt and bloody conclusion, might fall short of total satisfaction. Still, this flick bravely goes off the beaten track to produce something relatively unique, although at times, the viewer (like Stoner) might feel they have encountered something hallucinogenic.

Ronak Kotecha Senior Journalist and seasoned content creator with 18-years-experience at channels like Times Now, NewsX, Zoom and Radio City. Now, Rotten Tomatoes accredited global critic for the Times of India and BBC India Correspondent in Dubai. Talk show host at Talk100.3, tune in weekdays at 11 am on talk1003.ae