Who knew a gritty film could be boring? Most films with a visceral style
of realism explore heavy subject matter and use unconventional filmic
techniques to captivate audiences Ė not necessarily in a pleasant way,
but in a way that is thought-provoking, or engaging at the very least.
Weapons is one such film that isnít afraid to explore the issue of gun
violence through experimental methods of filmmaking. But in its
boldness, it blows effectiveness and originality into smithereens,
leaving nothing but a bloody mess of uneventful drama.
Sean, Jason and Chris are three young friends who live in a shady
neighbourhood Ė one where a black eye is the perfect justification for a
personal vendetta, guns are easy to come by and dope is passed around
openly. In just the space of one weekend, a series of destructive events
occur as individual actions all culminate in a dangerous mix of
misunderstandings, jealous impulses and revenge. As the kids of this
neighbourhood seek solutions through gun violence, they are thrown into
deeper consequences that leave them feeling shaken and lost.
Sequenced without a chronological order, Weapons tells a story of
irrational violence through an interesting mix of visual and audio
techniques that deliberately rupture your sense of stability and
comfort. Having said that, the way in which these techniques are used
throughout the film is as irrational and disordered as the emotions of
an angst-ridden teen. With one segment of the film completely shot in a
shaky hand-held camera, the scene roams through a party from the
perspective of Chrisí eyes as he intends to make a film, capturing the
trashy underbelly of the teens in his neighbourhood. While this style of
story-telling could potentially be original and exciting, Weapons
chooses to tap into the drunken stupor of teen scandals that arenít
compelling for the audience, lingering for too long on mundane
conversations and certain visual effects such as slow motion that
achieve nothing but boredom. Much of this dullness, however, is
associated with the fact that the characters are flat and uninteresting;
meaning no amount of visual experimentation is enough to make the story
compelling or worth the audienceís attention.
The use of sound and music is also rendered ineffective as a result of
this. While much of the music is used to sustain a particular atmosphere
and feel to the neighbourhood, there are also jarring sound effects that
are intended to heighten tension and the surreal tragedy that eventuates
from the extremity of teen emotions. But due to the weak story and
characters, the soundscape isnít as powerful as it could have been,
turning the combination of visual and audio styles into an effect that
falls short of what it aims to achieve.
While the filmís story is completely centred on events that
significantly correlate with one another, Weapons feels surprisingly
uneventful due to its uninteresting characters and its concentration on
the dull and mundane aspects of unwholesome teen life. The twists to the
story are predictable, the script is poorly written and the execution is
no more exciting, so that the filmís potentially powerful and engaging
editing is made superfluous and ineffective. Weapons will splatter your
brains with tediousness.