Sunday, May 17, 2015

“Two Shots Fired”– Movie Review



This week, I attended a screening at The Film Society Of Lincoln Center of the new comedy-drama from Argentina “Two Shots Fired” (or “Two Gunshots”, depending on the translation). 


When a young man survives a suicide attempt, will his relationship with his family also be able to survive?


One day while trying to repair the family lawnmower, Mariano (Rafael Federman) finds a pistol in the backyard’s toolshed.   Fascinated with the weapon, he brings it back to his room and fires it – once at his head and once at his stomach.  As it happens, the first shot just grazed his skull and he managed to recover from the shot to his stomach; after spending only a week in the hospital, he returns home where his mother Susana (Susana Pampin) and older brother Ezequiel (Benjamín Coehlo) take care of him while he recuperates. 

While it remains unclear as to why Mariano did it – much less how he managed to live through it – his family seems not to want to press the issue with him and instead prefer to just let him try to return to his life as normal, which includes playing a recorder as part of a quartet.  Meanwhile, Mariano’s family makes an effort to return to their own life as well; in the case of Ezequiel, it means driving around the neighborhood looking for the family dog, which recently ran away.  For Susana, it means a great many things, not the least of which being keeping an eye on Mariano. 

After taking some sleeping pills, Susana sleeps for three straight days; once she wakes up, she decides to take a vacation with a few acquaintances.  Staying at a small house by the beach, Susana soon finds that she’s with a group of people she simply can’t stand.  Nevertheless, the group at least make an effort to get along as best they can during their stay.  But upon returning home, will Susana find everything back to normal or will there be yet another unpleasant surprise from Mariano awaiting her?   


There are some novels which, while you read them, you might wonder to yourself, “Gee, I can’t see how they could ever make a movie out of this thing!”.  One example might be “Catch-22”; while the book by Joseph Heller was very successful, the film on which it was based was not.  “Two Shots Fired” is not based on a novel; it is instead an original screenplay by longtime filmmaker Martín Rejtman.  If anyone who ever read this screenplay gave an honest appraisal to Rejtman (which apparently never happened), they likely would have similarly told him you can’t make a movie out of that thing. 

It certainly doesn’t help when the person charged with making the film doesn’t understand its genre or when both the characters and the story line are so horribly disjointed (see below for a more detailed explanation on this).  When the filmmaker feels no obligation to commit to telling a story with interesting characters, it’s hard for viewers to make the necessary emotional investment necessary to maintain an interest in the story. If the screenplay had been written by Pirandello, it likely would’ve been titled, “A Bunch Of Oddball Characters In Search Of A Plot”. 

Following the screening, there was a question-and-answer session with the writer-director of “Two Shots Fired”, Martín Rejtman.  Rejtman said that he seems genuinely surprised that a number of people see his movie as a comedy because he sees it as something more in the genre of a thriller.  He was asked about the characters’ lacking of interaction with each other; Rejtman claimed that he doesn’t really see the world that way, but rather, that is how he sees the world of those characters and no deeper meaning was intended beyond that. 

Two Shots Fired (2014) on IMDb

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