So a cowboy walks into a bar, and everyone asks: will this turn into a ballet of death? …Okay, so no one asked that ever. Not even once. But the narrator said it, and everyone’s listening. So perhaps a better question: do you like Westerns, gunfights, and breaking the fourth wall for a huge comedic payoff? Then you should take 10 minutes, buckle up, and enter the saloon with The Gunfighter by Eric Kissack!
Going into this film, I honestly rather expected it to be a fairly formula fulfilling Western, you know the type. The one with the stereotypically cowboy drifter looking guy, the saloon with the shady characters, and obviously some ladies of ill repute to round out the saloon scene. And I got every part of it, and was thrilled.
When the narrator first spoke, I internally groaned for a moment, due to the subverted expectation that I was about to see the gunfighter character pick himself some sort of shootout and have the short film end soon thereafter. But when the characters started to look up and respond, I couldn’t help but laugh. It was a refreshing change from genre to have the story be between the characters and the narrator, rather than yet another Western story type world, with the same tired characters and same tired storylines.
Kissack’s choice to open up the “internal thoughts” of the characters breaks the stereotypical “tough guy” attitudes that the characters in the story would be expected to portray in a typical Western, to great comedic effect. It turns the people in the film into something more than yet more beats in a story that’s been told a thousand times, and brings a life to them that selling the audience on their authenticity as period characters wouldn’t be able to.
If you want to check out more of Kissack’s work, fans of Supernatural may find a familiar face in Werewolves. Otherwise, check out The Gunfighter below!