The Gunfighter (2014 film)
|Directed by||Eric Kissack|
|Produced by||Christopher Northup|
|Written by||Kevin Tenglin|
|Narrated by||Nick Offerman|
|Music by||Paul Thomson|
|Edited by||Libby Cuenin|
|March 21, 2014 (CIFF)|
May 23, 2014 (SIFF)
The Gunfighter is a 2014 short film directed by Eric Kissack. A twist on the Western genre, the film concerns a group of people in a saloon who, in an act of breaking the fourth wall, are able to hear the narrator of the film.
A gunfighter enters a saloon, and his actions are narrated by an unseen voice, much to the confusion of those in the saloon. The narrator begins revealing the thoughts of the characters, as a typical film narrator would, yet the thoughts are mostly personal or humiliating to the characters. The characters test the narrator's truthfulness by instructing a woman, Sally, to think of a number, which the narrator correctly states. Once the narrator makes it known that almost every patron of the bar has practiced infidelity, almost every character draws a gun, initiating a Mexican standoff. The gunfighter realises the narrator's sadism, as he is trying to make the patrons kill one another.
He gives a speech about disregarding the narrator's divisive language and coming together to form a utopia. The narrator then discloses that the gunslinger had killed the son of the one of the patrons, after which everyone shoots at each other. By the end of the shootout, each patron in the saloon is killed, except for Sally, whom the narrator explains will die from mauling by a rabid wolf the following day.
- Shawn Parsons as the Gunfighter
- Nick Offerman as the Narrator
- Scott Beehner as Tommy Henderson
- Brace Harris as Johnny Henderson
- Eileen O'Connell as Sally
- Jordan Black as Sam
- Timothy Brennen as Bill Jessup
- Travis Lincoln Cox as Elijah Jessup
- Schoen Hodges as Gabriel Jessup
The film was shot at the Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio in Santa Clarita, California, and was partly inspired by the television series Deadwood. It was filmed over the course of a weekend, on a budget of under $25,000, much of which went towards costume design and props. The film's director, Eric Kissack, contacted comedic writer and filmmaker David Wain in order to help cast actor Nick Offerman as the unseen narrator. The film was presented to Offerman with a different narrating voice to act as a placeholder until a superior narrator was acquired. Offerman enjoyed the film and his narration, which is present in the finished film, was subsequently recorded.
Reception and awards
The Gunfighter has received mostly positive reviews, holding a score of 8.1/10 on IMDb, based on 1,065 user ratings. The film won the Audience Award for Best Short Film at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival and was a "Best of Fest Selection" at the 2014 Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films. Film reviewer John Arkelian wrote that, in regards to the narration, "it’s an omniscient author getting in the way of his own characters. The result is quite amusing, if sometimes vulgar."
- Sneider, Jeff (19 August 2014). "'The Gunfighter' Director Eric Kissack on How He Cast Nick Offerman: TheWrap's ShortList Quickie". TheWrap.
- "Winners Announced For 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival". Film Independent. 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2016.
- "On DVD 2.0: More Reviews of Films on DVD". ArtsForum.ca. Retrieved 26 April 2016.