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Guns Akimbo: Kiwi-made carnage starring Daniel Radcliffe

 

GUNS AKIMBO
directed by Jason Lei Howden

The terrific premise of this violent, gory and somewhat ramshackle Kiwi-made feature pointedly captures the zeitgeist of social media and the gamification of life.

Antisocial internet troll Miles (a superb Daniel Radcliffe, who has long since shed the shackles of the bespectacled boy wizard) wakes up groggily to find that strangers have broken into his apartment and bolted guns to his hands. Unable to remove them, much less open doors or put on trousers, Miles is forced to participate in the very game he has been following from the safety of his couch – a real one of life or death against the competition’s superstar player “Nix” (Australian actress Samara Weaving).

Radcliffe is perfectly cast as the hapless hero. His approach to the predicament – in which much shooting and killing necessarily occur – is a mixture of wimpy low self-esteem and hilarious physical comedy. Having been so brilliant in Ready or Not, Weaving’s Nix regrettably remains a largely two-dimensional character – perhaps meta-commentary on the treatment of females in gaming culture? – and the film suffers somewhat from its casting of local faces and familiar locations such as Auckland’s CBD, which make Kiwi viewers’ suspension of disbelief (necessary for any movie that indulges in fantasy to this degree) a bit tricky.

But Guns Akimbo is just meant for fun, and its madcap editing style, cartoonish production design and compelling central “hero” make it at least as diverting as the games it mimics.

IN CINEMAS NOW

★★★

Video: Madman Films

This article was first published in the March 21, 2020 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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