Today’s movie is Six Shooter an Irish film that won the Academy Award for Best Live Action short in 2006. It’s also the debut film from award-winning playwright Martin McDonagh, who has since gone on to write and direct two features, one of which (In Bruges) I thoughorally enjoyed, and one (Seven Psychpaths) that’s right near the top of The List of movies I’ve been meaning to see.
In Six Shooter ubiquitous Irish actor Brendan Gleeson stars as Donnelly, as the film begins Donnelly is in a hospital where he learns that his wife has just passed away. After saying his goodbye, he boards a train headed home. He shares a car with three other people, a hyper-talkative foul-mouthed young man (Rúaidhrí Conroy) and a grief-stricken couple (David Wilmot and Aisling O’Sullivan). What follows is a darkly comedic, sometimes even gruesome look at how different people react to tragedy and loss.
I have no trouble understanding why this film won its Oscar. It’s really is well put together and features several clever twists and turns. It’s also simultaneously simplistic and complex in that it’s set almost entirely aboard a moving train, the rolling green Irish countryside moving past the windows contrasts against the stark, fixed, reality inside. This must have posed some unique challenges for a novice director, but McDonagh handles it well.
This said, it’s mostly the dialogue and conversation that makes the movie. In this respect it is Conroy’s unnamed kid that really stirs the drink, and makes things interesting. So, while Six Shooter is undoubtedly Donnelly’s story, it’s his interaction with this kid that makes it worth telling.
As I’ve noted before, I’m not a really a fan of dark comedy. However, this one works pretty well. It’s macabre and twisted, but also, somehow, fun. It’s helped by the fact that its twenty-eight minute running time doesn’t allow for much wallowing, but it also provides enough time to get a real feel for the handful of characters involved. All in all, while this certainly isn’t going on my list of favorite films, it is certainly worth seeing.