Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Uh, hate to be a bother, but is this supposed to be funny?

  • Print

IN the 2002 documentary Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore suggested that Canadians are a sane and peaceable folk compared to Americans because we have not been steeped in the fear and violence of American gun culture.

A few years before that, in 1995, Moore expressed pretty much the same sentiment in his obscure comedy satire Canadian Bacon in which the U.S. president is heard to demand the release of a "hostage" of Canada with the immortal line: "Surrender her pronto, or we'll level Toronto."

Conceived in the same satiric template, Gunless is a western written and directed by William Phillips (Foolproof, Treed Murray) that plays with the same dynamic.

A trigger-happy American gunslinger known as The Montana Kid (Paul Gross, flaunting lavish hair extensions), barely having escaped a lynching, stumbles into the remote Canadian town of Barclay's Brush, pop. 29.

The outlaw assumes that the town is the same as any American burg, but whenever the Kid waves his pistol around and attempts to intimidate the locals, it's like the Canadians don't speak the same language. He attempts to call out the town lumbering blacksmith (Tyler Mane), but the big guy just walks away.

The Montana Kid wants a showdown. But his is the only six-shooter in all of Barclay's Brush, with the exception of a Civil War-era hand cannon currently in the possession of the prickly-but-winsome Jane (Sienna Guillory) who demands that the Kid work for it...

The movie is sporadically amusing, but it works against itself in a couple of ways, most notably in casting affable Canuck Paul Gross as a violent Yank.

Gross is a handsome, extremely capable actor, but the movie actually cries out for some latter-day Lee Marvin to assume the role of the Montana Kid. Gross, who played the polite can-do mountie in the TV series Due South for many seasons, isn't a good fit, eh?

The movie's self-congratulatory tone -- at least we're not Americans -- also contravenes that much-prized Canadian virtue: Modesty.

It's OK for Michael Moore to praise Canadians for not being gun crazy and for choosing peaceful resolutions over violent confrontations.

When a Canadian says that, it seems downright unseemly. If you don't mind my saying.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 30, 2010 d4

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Wasylycia-Leis says Bowman and Ouellette ran a good campaign

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • June 25, 2013 - 130625  -  A storm lit up Winnipeg Tuesday, June 25, 2013. John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press - lightning
  • Geese fly in the morning light over Selkirk Ave Wednesday morning- Day 22– June 13, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Has the attack on Parliament hill shaken your faith in Canada's ability to protect its citizens from terrorist threats?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google