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The Way of the Gun (2000)



Average Rating: 5.4/10
Reviews Counted: 105
Fresh: 50 | Rotten: 55

The Way of the Gun has some good parts, but overall, the movie is derivative, sloppy, and sluggish.


Average Rating: 5/10
Critic Reviews: 26
Fresh: 11 | Rotten: 15

The Way of the Gun has some good parts, but overall, the movie is derivative, sloppy, and sluggish.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 31,105

My Rating

Movie Info

In this suspense thriller, two small-time crooks make a bid for the big time with disastrous results. Robin (Juliette Lewis) is carrying a child as a surrogate mother for a wealthy couple, Hale and Francesca Chidduck (Scott Wilson and Kristin Lehman) when she's kidnapped by Parker (Ryan Phillippe) and Longbaugh (Benicio Del Toro), who believe that the adoptive parents will pay a large ransom to ensure the safety of both mother and baby. The kidnappers soon discover that they're out of their


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Christopher McQuarrie

Jun 19, 2001


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All Critics (120) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (50) | Rotten (55) | DVD (16)

Both the picture and its nefarious plot seem self-consciously calculated.

April 25, 2003 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Way of the Gun sometimes trips over its own contrivance, especially at the ammo-ridden end. But most of the time McQuarrie and his cast -- especially Del Toro, Philippe, and Lewis delivering her best, grittiest work in years -- make it crackle.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Christopher McQuarrie makes a sluggishly paced directing debut.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

In a way, [McQuarrie] almost seems motivated by the same things that drive his killers: desperation and loot.

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At first you're surprised when you get the rug pulled out from under you. Eventually, if you're a quick study, you stop stepping on it.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic


January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Exceptionally violent movie -- not for kids.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (2)
Common Sense Media

It boastfully claims roaring, bloodletting gunfire to do Sam Peckinpah proud, Joe Kraemer's throbbing percussive score (proving timpani should get more melodies) and any number of quotable, slick dialogue snippets. Swaggering, verbose, soulful and badass.

December 2, 2010 Full Review Source:

It's a tour-de-force of cinematic invention. But at the same time, it's just about the coldest, most pointless crime movie I've ever seen.

May 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

An odd mingling of the old and the no-longer-quite-so-new, a picture that shows flashes of wit but as a whole doesn't hang together.

December 6, 2005 Full Review Source: One Guy's Opinion
One Guy's Opinion

It wants to keep you guessing, but there are so many twists and turns that I gave up trying to guess.

December 6, 2004 Full Review Source: Looking Closer
Looking Closer

one hell of a sick, exhilarating roller coaster ride through Modern Film Noire Land

June 1, 2003 Full Review
Detour Magazine

The movie has a bunch of great individual scenes, but as a whole, the thing never gels.

February 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Wants to be one of these violent, manly yet provocative films, but unfortunately it unfurls as more of a big budgeted student film; a collage of borrowed images paying homage to great directors.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Brutal scenes are undercut with lyricism and deadpan wit.

December 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Sight and Sound
Sight and Sound

A two-hour marathon of deceit, murder and mayhem with absolutely no point or interest.

October 21, 2002 Full Review Source: San Diego Metropolitan | Comment (1)
San Diego Metropolitan

A wild, gory tale full of violence, to be sure. But it is also full of intrigue, and the distinctive stamp of a born storyteller.

October 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Enquirer

Certainly, [it] has a passive watchability but it never does anything new or different with its material

August 12, 2002 Full Review Source: Flipside Movie Emporium
Flipside Movie Emporium

This to me is what seeing movies is all about. I was thoroughly entertained and had no idea what was coming next.

June 28, 2002 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

Pleasing in the most superficial of ways.

April 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

So well-written, so clever, so innovative, and so aware of its place in the grand scheme of things that it is strangely empty of anything except technical skill.

February 28, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

McQuarrie's entire roster strains the limits of character likability to the breaking point, and no amount of plot twists, double-crosses, or hidden alliances can help us relate to or even tolerate anyone on screen.

April 17, 2001 Full Review Source: Movieline

replaces Tarantino's hip polish with a grave existentialism that is more reminiscent of Sam Peckinpah or the early films of William Friedkin

February 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

The screenplay has some great dialogue and some memorable scenes. But the story was just too confusing.

February 15, 2001 Full Review
Norman Transcript

Buen intento que se queda en el camino

February 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Moviola

Audience Reviews for The Way of the Gun

"The Way of the Gun is a pretty good B-movie. The performances are pretty good by most. I usually really like Juliette Lewis, but I didn't care for her acting in this movie. She was just way too dramatic as a pregnant chick. I loved Del Toro in this one. His character was ruthless and honest about his intentions. Phillippe was good in this too. The script is good. But it comes from the same guy who wrote Usual Suspects, so it has to be right? Definitely not as good, but good.
The story is about a kidnapping gone bad. A rich couple is paying Robin to be a surrogate for their unborn child. Parker and Longbaugh get wind of how much they are paying Robin to nest their egg and think it would be fast and easy money to hold her for ransom. The 'easy' job turns out to be more than they had anticipated and chaos errupts.
Although I did like the movie, I don't think I would watch it again."
February 2, 2013

Super Reviewer

Oscar winning screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie made his directorial debut with this slick little crime thriller that has an interesting take on going after the American Dream.

Two small-time criminal drifters get far more than they bargained for after they impulsively decide to kidnap the heavily pregnant surrogate mother to a wealthy couple that have powerful, but shady connections. This movie is a lot like an onion: it's complex, densely layered, and really rewarding when you put in the time to get through it.

The screenplay is full of great little nuances, depth, and, as I said, a lot of layers. At times it might be a bit too convoluted and even rather pretentious, but that's okay. Compared to a lot of similar post Pulp Fiction indie crime movies, it at least has a lot more thought and intelligence going for it.

The action and gunplay are very well done, with great amounts of tension, suspense, and realism. The actors were extensively trained by various firearms experts and people with military backgrounds, and it really shows, since these actors go above and beyond and display a lot of competency, proving quite convincing. The film is kind of a neo-western noir, and it has a great look: very subdued, raw, and gritty. The production design, art direction, and costumes really reflect this, and add some nice layers of symbolism as well.

As for the acting, well, Ryan Phillippe sheds his romcom pretty boy image here, sporting a scruffy beard and bad attitude as the more impulsive one of the drifting duo. Benecio del Toro shines as his partner, the more calm, silent, and wise of the two, and they have a great chemistry together that balances out nicely. Juliette Lewis is decent in a tough and limited role as the pregnant surrogate mother. Taye Diggs and Nicky Katt are fun to watch as her two bodyguards who have a very rigid code of professionalism, and James Caan is fantastic as a veteran bag man who connection to all of what happens is far more crucial than it first seems.

The film is shot well, has great music, and a fun sense of dark humor to complement it's lurid story. The only thing about the movie that sticks out as weak to me is the stuff involving the character Abner. His stuff just feels a little tacked on and unnecessary, and I think they could have done a better job dealing with it.

All in all, this is a great movie that is sadly quite underappreciated. It's smart, thrilling, has brains, and really makes you wish more movies would be made with this type of care. Even if this wasn't one of my favorite films ever, I'd still give it a strong recommendation, because it's excellent.
December 7, 2012
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A pair of small time crooks decide to gamble all on a big score when they kidnap the pregnant surrogate mother of a mobster's unborn child. Written and directed by the man responsible for the script for The Usual Suspects, Way Of The Gun may not have the clever twist in the tale of his most famous work, but it is still an extremely stylish and well written crime drama stocked with some smart dialogue and sharply directed Peckinpah-esque shoot-outs. The bare bones of the plot are a little workman-like, but the joy of this film is in the detail; the same old stereotypical events are given a slightly different spin all the way along the line making for a blackly comic, cynical crime drama that is painted in varying shades of dark, dark grey. Very much in the tradition of Tarantino, it's full of colourful characters who are constantly trying to outsmart and double cross each other and it makes for a tangled web of deceit and murder ending in a great Butch and Sundance style finale that I enjoyed immensely. Great stuff.
January 17, 2012
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

A slick, stylish, funny, pistol-packing, pulse-pounding and wickedly entertaining thriller. Compelling, gripping and electrifying. It's fast, intense and furious. It has enough explosive action, suspense, humor and crackling twist that never stop. Ryan Phillippe gives his best performance to date. Benicio Del Toro is excellent. James Caan is in top form. A well-crafted crime film mixing into a urban western film noir with shady characters, gun-play and dark comedy. An interesting directional debut by Oscar winning screenwriter, Christopher McQuarrie. An ultra dark, sizzling, wild and terrifically original film.
March 6, 2010

Super Reviewer

    1. Parker: Shut that cunts mouth or I'll come over there and fuckstart her head!
    – Submitted by Harold S (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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