Daniel Radcliffe epitomises the American version of himself in this dark comedy also starring Samara Weaving – 4/5
If you’re a fan of films which follow an awkward protagonist hilariously fumbling his way through a not-so-important plot line then this is one film you’re not going to want to miss. Guns Akimbo starts strong from the outset, leaving just under 10 minutes before Radcliffe finds himself with two guns bolted to his hands – and yes that is the main plot point of this film and it’s fantastic. (No spoilers)
The plot: Radcliffe plays an American, Miles Lee Harris, a computer wizz recluse who has little regard for his personal hygiene working a boring mundane job for his jackass boss. Having just had a rough break up with his girlfriend, Miles gets his satisfaction from trolling online trolls and those who have extremist views. Enter the organisation, Skizm, an illegal live-streaming fight to the death with a huge following around the world. Imagine the hunger games but with adult participants, gritty gunfights and streamed on a 13 year old teenagers iPad. After a misplaced insult at a Skizm user, Miles finds himself being sent increasingly concerning threats before going to bed and waking up with two pistols steel bolted to his hands and wrists. His instructions are simple, he is now being live streamed on Skizm and must kill famed player, Nix [Samara Weaving], before she kills him.
Radcliffe as Miles Harris: Radcliffe makes this film and I can’t see any other actor doing a better job. Miles’ reactions to having pistols bolted to his hands, trying to get dressed with said pistols bolted to his hands and having a crazed killer after him is exactly how you would expect an overly polite, anxiety riddled individual to react – scared, confused and in denial. This naturally makes ways for comical incidents – a particular one being Radcliffe shooting a gun for the first time and realising contrary to popular culture that gunshots are deafening and hurt your wrists when fired. Radcliffe is known for his wish to be seen as someone other than Harry Potter and he gets very close here but to be honest at times I felt like I was genuinely watching Daniel Radcliffe (with an American accent) put in a fight to the death around New York city – and that’s not a bad thing.
A mix of realism and fantasy: Something I liked about this film was it’s blend of reality with fictionalised violence. Miles grunting every time he shot a bullet because he can feel the vibrations going through the bolts inside his bones was a nice touch – it makes no joke of what having guns attached to you would actually be like. The main character is frightened (in a light hearted way) throughout this film and he makes efforts to escape in undignified and un-cool ways – much like any of us would in that situation. Towards the final 20 minutes of the film it understandably becomes a bit of a shoot ’em up film, with Miles handling his guns like Keanu Reeves in John Wick, but this doesn’t take anything away from it and this satisfies the blood lust among most viewers.
No hard questions asked: If you want to watch something which doesn’t require you to contemplate the existence of humanity then I’d recommend you watch this. It has no grand plot, it is exactly what it says on the tin, with enough twists and character arcs to keep it interesting. Watch it as a comedy or watch it as an action- it works as any of those and more. The protagonist has no political agenda and the antagonist isn’t trying to change the world, if you look for deeper meanings you will always find them but if you’re looking for them in this film then you’re watching for the wrong reasons.
More like this from Weaving: This is not a change of pace for Weaving who is finding herself fitting nicely into the dark comedy / horror comedy niche [Ready or Not 2019 / Mayhem 2017 / The Babysitter 2017]. In Guns Akimbo she is given a character which does not give much room for her own interpretation but she executes it nicely, and the on screen chemistry with Radcliffe is clearly there. We want to see more of her and hope this springboards her further into mainstream movies.
To watch or not to watch: Watch.
Can I stream it: Yes – Amazon Prime Video.
Child friendly: No – moderate amounts of gore and profanity.
Can I watch this with my parents: Yes – no sex scenes but plenty of dirty jokes and references.