The Gentle Gunman (1952)
The Man not the Mission
In war time London Matt (Dirk Bogarde - Darling) is a young member of the IRA who sees it as his duty to cause chaos by planting bombs. His older brother Terry (John Mills - Morning Departure) is also part of the IRA but has had doubts about the nobility of their efforts to cause terror by blowing up innocent people. Terry's change of heart has not gone unnoticed within the IRA and after helping his brother escape from arrest and return to Ireland he is branded a traitor.
The attraction of watching "The Gentle Gunman" now some 60+ years since it was released is that it stars John Mills and Dirk Bogarde. And these two acting legends are the best thing about the movie; they deliver solid performances of semi interesting characters. Although semi-interesting I would never say that the characters are that realistic and suffer from not only what someone thought members of the IRA were like but also what cinema going public could tolerate back in 1952.
That is the actual issue with "The Gentle Gunman" as whilst the cast are decent and the cinematography is good with some nice locations shots it just feels like a movie made not to be realistic but to be acceptable to the masses. Everything about it is too simplistic from members of the IRA portrayed almost like they were just angry farmers to how attitudes can be changed by just one person doing something good. Yet whilst over simplified it is still an incredibly wordy movie and that makes things feel very wrong as after having simplified the characters to then feature them scenes waffling on with searching prose just doesn't feel right.
What this all boils down to is that "The Gentle Gunman" has some appeal as it is a beautifully shot movie and features the acting talents of John Mills and Dirk Bogarde. But with its subject matter being the IRA it struggles to feel realistic as it tries to deliver a storyline and characters which those who went to see it on the big screen would tolerate.
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