Things get downright kooky in Qishi Li’s short film, Pistol of the Forgiven. Drawing inspiration from spaghetti westerns and Kurosawa epics, this film follows Somerass (Artem Mishin) as he pursues revenge against the villainous Chukles (Kenny Leu), killing anyone who gets in his way. And, you know, a few people get in his way.
As far as evoking the spirit of the cinematic styles it homages, this short film couldn’t be more perfect. From the faded look of the black and white, to the edit style, to the sound design, this film gets it all right. It’s in its ridiculous plot that the film reveals its more modern leanings.
I don’t want to give anything away, but the impetus for revenge in this film is beyond silly. Most elements are beyond silly, actually. It never for a second takes itself seriously, going for absurd by way of goofy, but wrapped in some massive respect for classic cinema. If it achieves nothing else, it is extremely fun.
Having said that, for all I love about it, the film feels too long. Maybe it’s a case of one confrontation too many, or said confrontations lasting too long, but the film starts to lose its luster. We could be talking the difference of two minutes, these things can be hard to discern sometimes, but you never want a film’s charm to start wearing off, and this one’s does slightly.
But overall, still a blast to watch. The attention to detail in aping the cinematic styles, and the joyful irreverence, has me hopeful and excited for what filmmaker Qishi Li does next.
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