Gunrush Review: Guns Don’t Thrill People…

August 20, 2009 by  
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GUNRUSH: Sunday 23rd August, ITV1, 9pm Alert Me

ITV have always been happy to probe a darker side of society for our entertainment.

They’ve covered call girls, village fete murders, and even lent airtime to Frank Skinner. This Sunday’s drama Gunrush tackles gun crime.

Timothy Spall stars in this one-off thriller as mild-mannered father Doug Becket, who takes the law into his own hands as he attempts to avenge the death of his teenage daughter, shot dead in a supermarket.

We watch how the senseless crime affects those immediately concerned, as well as those later involved. It hints at being an authentic portrait of human relationships, though some dodgy story developments destroy that possibility.

With no positive identification of the murderer (despite the crime happening in broad daylight), and little faith in the police to do their job, Doug’s only chance of finding the killer is by matching a cartridge to the gun that killed his daughter. He nicked this cartridge – evidence – from right under the police’s nose. It’s these niggling details that spoil the show. It’s a bit far-fetched.

Gunrush seems to have underestimated its audience, assuming they’re lacking in basic knowledge of law and justice proceedings as well as common sense, as some ludicrous developments unfold.

The crutch of the story is shaky to begin with, and gaping holes in the plotline kill off any chance of credibility. And it isn’t nice feeling totally incredulous about a show whose subject matter is informed by the very real, ongoing problem of gun crime.

There is some (comic) relief courtesy of a bizarre appearance from Paul Kaye who must be tired of being typecast as a drug-addled stranger with a heart of gold.

While the story could be a solid absorbing one that demands some thought from its audience, it is undermined by those gaping holes and shortcuts that are only there to gloss over its predictability, or for dramatic effect.

It does have a point, however. Though after nearly two hours it’s hard earned. Gunrush provides a good illustration of the allure of the gun, which when juxtaposed with the immediate effects of gun crime is poignant viewing. It’s just a shame we had to check off so many stereotypes on the way to this epiphany.

There are sound performances from the cast as well, especially from “bloke for all seasons” Timothy Spall.

Unfortunately it just all feels a little half-baked.

Leonie Mercedes

Click here for our review on The War Against Street Weapons, in which Cherie Blair takes a look at the action being taken in a bid to stave off gun crime.

Peter McSorley says:

This review is generous! Not half baked, fully baked. Apart from emotional shock at the start it failed to emotionally engage. It made no sense at all and was totally superficial in its tackling of various themes. Spall, as always, was great.