Gunfighter Paradise Image

Gunfighter Paradise

By Bobby LePire | April 30, 2024

Sardonic is the best possible word to describe Gunfighter Paradise. Writer and director Jethro Waters masterfully employs a unique brand of dark humor to delve into several weighty themes, including PTSD, grief, religion, and the bonds of friendship. This intriguing blend of comedy and serious subject matter begs the question: does the humor detract from the gravity of the themes, or does it serve to underscore them?

Stoner (Braz Cubas) has recently returned to North Carolina following the death of his mom. He’s pretty restless these days, as his hunting tendencies have not diminished, and he might never be satiated. One day, with two Confederate reenactors awaiting a rideshare, a cable technician comes by. It turns out this is Joel (Joel Loftin), an old friend of Stoner’s from way back in the day. As the two commiserate, Stoner confides that he is having religious hallucinations and that he believes the powers that be are guiding him to do something big. Exactly how a mummified cat with jeweled eyes, mysterious riddles, and Joel fit into the equation are answers best left to be discovered by all watching.

The screenplay for Gunfight Paradise has the dry of the Coen brothers by way of Irving Ravetch. Several lines are almost profound but then go into absurdist territory. Stoner informs Joel of the reenactors by mentioning their guns but not to worry because their weapons are loaded with blanks. The repairman’s reaction is that of confusion and nonchalance at the same time. Hilarious. When Stoner and Joel crack the first riddle, Bible verses, it is both cleverly and overly convoluted.

“…Stoner confides that he is having religious hallucinations…”

Cubas delivers a stellar performance as the stoic lead whose mind is unraveling (possibly). His deadpan delivery is superb, contributing to the film’s unique and engaging tone. Loftin, as the audience surrogate into the bizarre happenings, is equally impressive. The palpable chemistry between them sells their friendship, making the audience feel more connected to the characters. When the narrative takes a wild turn (no spoilers), they both handle it with finesse.

Waters directs with confidence. The filmmaker was also the editor and director of photography, ensuring that each scene looks excellent and doesn’t last too long. He often cuts away to highlight the beautiful scenery or essential props, as opposed to just watching the actors converse back and forth. The filmmaking is just as stylized as the script is bonkers insane.

Please don’t read too much about Gunfighter Paradise before watching it. Let the surprises come as they are intended. Thanks to the highly original but off-kilter narrative, audiences will remain engaged. The picture looks excellent, and the cast is killer.

Gunfighter Paradise (2024)

Directed and Written: Jethro Waters

Starring: Braz Cubas, Joel Loftin, etc.

Movie score: 9/10

Gunfighter Paradise Image

"…the cast is killer."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon