By Last Caress.
A Girl and Her Gun, a seventeen-minute short written by Bristolian Paul Holbrook and co-directed by Holbrook and Sam Dawe, is a stylistic marriage of British kitchen-sink urban drama to the Spaghetti Western, to which A Girl and Her Gun is also a love letter.
An un-named twelve year-old girl (credited here simply as “The Girl”) visits her comatose father in hospital. He’s a guest at Her Majesty’s Pleasure and he’s been badly beaten for some reason whilst inside. It doesn’t look good for him. The Girl is unkempt and ragged because her chav mother Carol (Laura Bayston) and Carol’s new squeeze Clive (Joe Sims, Broadchurch) couldn’t give a good f*ck about her; indeed, they seem to see her as nought but an irritant, inconveniencing their own self-centred pursuits (screwing as loudly as they can in the next room, dry-humping unapologetically on the couch in front of The Girl). As a result, The Girl is bullied at school, as well as at home. Her only respite, it seems, is in the Spaghetti Western movies she watches avidly, when her mum isn’t ordering her to “Turn that sh*t off,” of course. However, tragic circumstances soon place The Girl in possession of a loaded revolver. Will she take her lead from the violent Italian horse operas which constitute her only friends in the world?
I’ll have to admit to a bit of bias here: In another internet incarnation away from battleroyalewithcheese, I moderate on the forums at The Spaghetti Western Database, the most comprehensive source of information for spaghetti westerns in the world. So, since spaghettis are clearly a big love of mine, it comes then as no surprise that I would fall madly in love with a short feature which so fervently portrays its subject matter in the style of a spaghetti western, from the camera angles and close-ups to the sparse dialogue to the superb spag-inspired score by Simone Cilio. Hell, A Girl and her Gun even succeeds in making the decidedly mediocre Diamante Lobo aka God’s Gun (Parolini, 1976) – the spaghetti western The Girl is seen watching – look cool.
If I was making a lazy comparison I would call A Girl and Her Gun a mash-up of Shane Meadows versus Sergio Leone, but it would be a comparison meant with love. With strong performances from Laura Bayston and Joe Sims but especially from the fantastic Matilda Randall in an almost wordless performance as The Girl, A Girl and her Gun comes highly recommended by this gringo. I would love to see Messrs. Holbrook and Dawe tackle a real Eurowestern at some stage.
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