So it looks like Ben Barnes, he of Dorian Grey and Prince Caspian fame, and Leighton Meester (of “Gossip Girl” fame) came to Boston last winter to make a movie. As if that pairing wasn’t high enough on the “improbable meter”, then how about we add Harvey Keitel and Toby Jones, who are both along for the ride. Wait…what?
Yes, it’s yet another Boston crime thriller about a guy who longs to be a “made man”. Of course, as soon as that box is ticked on the old bucket list, he meets the girl of his dreams and then wants out of the life.
By the Gun (original title God Only Knows) is written by Emilio Mauro (who is no Dennis Lehane, nor even Chuck Hogan, though he would seem to have borrowed tropes from both – among many others). Speaking of Hogan, director James Mottern is no Ben Affleck (who directed The Town based on Hogan’s book). Mottern did, however, make a pretty good directorial debut with Trucker back in 2008. (Didn’t see it? You’re certainly not alone, which is a shame. It gave Michelle Monaghan the role of her life.) He hasn’t directed anything since, but Trucker gives him the benefit of the doubt. (Provided he isn’t responsible for Meester’s casting.)
Nick Tortano (Barnes) is a smooth-talking, ambitious criminal from the streets of Boston. After years spent working for and idolizing the Italian gangsters he finally proves himself to the boss and becomes a made man. However, once inside, Nick conflicts with a moneymaker for the Mafia and begins to drive a wedge between him and the Boss.
Take a look at this first trailer:
I don’t think Mottern and Mauro are tilling any new ground here, but I’m a sucker for the genre and it’s set in my city, so there’s one ticket sold.
By the Gun also stars, Paul Ben-Victor, Slaine (Yes! A Lehane AND Affleck connection – Ben discovered Slaine for Gone Baby Gone. He is becoming the face of Southie.), and other assorted faces you’ve seen in a lot of wise-guy flicks, like Richie Coster, Michael Yebba, Jay Giannone (Gone Baby Gone, The Iceman and the upcoming Black Mass), and Damien DiPaola, plus former New England Patriots linebacker Tully Banta Cain making his film debut, and Kenny “Footloose” Wormald. (Hey at least he was born in Boston. Maybe he helped with the accents.) Millennium Entertainment will give the film a limited theatrical and same-day VoD release on December 5. Wild horses couldn’t keep me away from this. Maybe I’ll go hang out at the red carpet premiere* on December 1 and totally fan-girl out!
*Actually, if anyone reading this is in the Boston area, tickets to the premiere and after-party can be had and the proceeds go to charity. Details here.