The story of Six Shooter is centered around 4 main characters, Donnelly (portrayed by Brendan Gleeson), and 3 unnamed characters, a boy in his early 20s (portrayed amazingly by Ruaidhrí Conroy) and a Man and his Wife. All four characters are riding a train together, and grieving with the death of a loved one—a wife, a mother, and an infant child, respectively—all of which had died the night before, yet they are all dealing with it in very different ways. It is at the core a film that strives to reaffirm life through death, and shows how the most widely feared of all things can be what brings people together, if even for a short, eccentric period of time.
What is important to notice, and what drives this film, isn’t necessarily the plot, but the dialogue and acting. Those familiar with Martin McDonagh will know that he was first and foremost a playwright (and a damn good one at that) before trying his hand at film-making (Six Shooter being his first attempt). The film echoes the harsh, dark, bleak, yet extremely humorous dialogue featured in many of his earlier plays, specifically The Cripple of Inishmore and The Beauty Queen of Leenane and the pitch black plot of his major award winning, and his last play before entering filmmaking, The Pillowman.
It is important to note in this film the range of dialects spoke by the four main characters, and all the characters they interact with throughout the short. The culturally relevant one-liners to the views held about Ireland by the Irish in the early 2000s. The almost complete resurrection of the late 19th/early 20th century Irish playwrights (Shaw, Beckett, Yeats, Wilde, Synge, etc.) and how their hard-hitting, pitch-blackly whimsical portrayal and critique of themselves (the Irish) and their home country is completely revisited by McDonagh, but instead brought to life not on stage, but film.
As a playwright many would immediately scrutinize (as i did) the script—does it follow traditional 3-act plays, or is it free flowing the way a film’s script (in my opinion) should be? The answer to this one is both, and with his first directorial attempt, he pays close attention to all of the beautifully hilarious yet tragic aspects of not only his characters, but Ireland as a whole. But I will let all of you be the judge of this film when the time comes. I wanted to hold off on saying it, but since i know it will be found out anyways, this film did win the 2006 Oscar for best Short Feature—so even though it has that despicable award under it’s belt, it has managed to remain a fantastic film that falls just under the radar of most movie goers.
I have not seen the film it is paired against, but i hope that all of you participating in the Cup will enjoy the film as much as I do. It is a fantastic little short, and an amazing start to what I hope will shape up to be a long and successful career for Martin McDonagh—with Six Shooter, as Yeats said: A terrible beauty is born.
Made for Film4, the Oscar-winning Six Shooter was top playwright Martin McDonagh’s first experiment with film. The man behind ‘The Lieutenant Of Inishmore’ and ‘A Skull In Connemara’ has since graduated to full-length features: 2008’s In Bruges is a tale of hit-men on the run and stars the interesting team of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.
An ageing assassin in In Bruges, Gleeson here plays Donnelly, a man coming to terms with the very recent death of his wife. Indeed, with his partner having passed away but hours ago, our protagonist is so far from his best, he’s having a hard time dealing with an encounter aboard a Dublin train. The cause of his discomfort is an especially surly teen (Conroy, who was also very good as a troubled youth in Vadim Jean’s Clockwork Mice). It’s the sort of situation more centered individuals might walk away from, but with Donnelly’s skin at its thinnest and the kid seemingly a psychopath, things don’t seem destined to end well.
A film that wrings every ounce of tension out of an everyday situation, Six Shooter leaves you eager to see what McDonagh can do with more time and money. It also sends you away keen to watch every thing Brendan Gleeson has committed to film. One of the great unsung talents of our time, the Dubliner has played everything from corrupt LA cops (Dark Blue) to pixilated Norse warriors (Beowulf). Here, on home turf, he packs more into 27 minutes than some actors cram into entire careers.
As fine a short film as you could hope to find, Six Shooter reminds you of the power of Brendan Gleeson while pointing up the potential of Martin McDonagh.
>>>unfortunately i couldn’t find more reviews of this film, however i hope my thoughts and this short write-up by Film4 will give you a good idea of what you’ll be getting into with Six Shooter.
In Bruges is one of my favorite films and I’m looking forward to this one.
In Bruges is one of my favorites as well. Six Shooter is definitely one that i think a majority of the people participating in this cup, with the appreciation of depiction of cultures, will very much enjoy.
just make sure there are English subtitles in the final upload
theres a crystal clear version on Vimeo, i’ll see if there are CCs, but it really isn’t difficult to understand.
A fine short film, from one of the great living playwrights and a damn fine director too. IN BRUGES is criminally underrated, still. If only McDonagh would film of his LIEUTENANT OF INISHMORE.
^ I would love a film adaptation of the whole ARAN ISLANDS TRILOGY and THE PILLOWMAN
It’s alright, I could follow without subtitles.
^I’ve got a version with subs if needed upped to yt – this looks great Brentos been meaning to watch it for ages thanks!
Thanks for the sub upload Meg!
also thanks to all that have commented, i look forward to discussing this film with my fellow mubians
Thanks for the bump, Brian.
I really with someone would’ve done an intro for Araya. There’s a lot more that i’d like to read about that film. Though Kuxa did a fantastic job with his write up on the actual match thread.