|Hip depravity. Juliette Lewis and Benicio del Toro|
On the debit side, Juliette Lewis is a naggingly trendy, unconvincing presence with a repellent style—she’s a Method amateur doing an update on Ann Savage in Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour (1945). Lewis seems to find herself continually dragged into self-important garbage intended to épater le bourgeois, like Natural Born Killers (1994) and From Dusk till Dawn (1996). Lewis screams her way through this one until you’re ready to force feed her broken glass—a scene that would, not uncoincidentally, fit perfectly in this movie. James Caan shows up, too, and I thought, “What a drag to see that mannerism-infected old fart delivering lines as if he were revisiting scenes from The Killer Elite.” Caan often wears Eddie Bauer windbreakers in his movies, and sure enough he’s wearing one again here. The cutting during the final shootout is astounding—Christopher McQuarrie exhibits technical mastery of the medium—and the montage is brilliant directorial formalism. But the movie’s vision is awash in moral crud. The Way of the Gun is a morally repugnant work of art.