Sundance Review: Weapons
by Alex Billington
January 21, 2007
Weapons is another interesting life-on-the-streets gangster story with a promising concept but terrible scripting and poor execution that leaves the film in a mess. Focusing on a concept of retelling the lead up to the climax scene from various viewpoints from friends on two sides of a battle, Weapons spend too much time dwelling on scenes of the gangster life than actual character or plot development.
Sean (Mark Webber) returns home from jail and spends the night stoned with his friends Chris (Paul Dano) and Jason (Riley Smith). The next morning Jason is shot dead on a basketball court by Reggie's (Nick Cannon) and Mikey's (Jade Yorker) young acquaintance James (Brandon Smith). Weapons then goes back and revisits the lead-up to this shooting and what encouraged the stoners on both sides to seek vengeance. These nearly identical groups of friends - the whites versus the blacks - are mirror images of each other, and it comes down to a battle of who's got the biggest weapon, or the biggest wits.
Weapons has little more subsistence than other films of the same subject matter, however it's still the same old story - when something bad happens, someone else will eventually get shot for it. The film is almost like a Los Angeles based version of A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, but featuring Paul Dano instead of Shia LaBeouf, missing Channing Tatum, and blacks instead of Puerto Ricans. Unfortunately there isn't much great filmmaking found here, give or take a few moments including a video camera stylized recording from Dano, and it will be quickly forgotten.