Call­ing the shots in trig­ger- happy town

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

THE shoot­ing that kicks off this minis­eries was drawn from life: in the in­ci­dent, a young girl and sev­eral other vic­tims were trag­i­cally caught in cross­fire on a Toronto street.

The event gen­er­ated a heated de­bate about shoot­ing crimes and the ease with which Cana­di­ans could ac­quire arms from their gun-crazy neigh­bours across the bor­der.

Di­rec­tor David ‘‘ Sudz’’ Suther­land uses this sense­less tragedy to demon­strate the ran­dom na­ture of gun vi­o­lence, weav­ing a tight drama about cops, arms dealers and the so­cial prob­lems of gun cul­ture.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the shock killing puts the po­lice un­der pres­sure not only to solve the mur­der but to do some­thing about the pro­lif­er­a­tion of guns on Toronto’s streets.

The two-part drama un­folds through sev­eral per­spec­tives but cen­tres mainly on four fam­i­lies. Colm Fe­ore ( 24 ) gets to do some­thing he’s ex­ceed­ingly good at: play the ul­ti­mate evil arms dealer. As Paul Duguid he is a coldly ruth­less and ar­ro­gant char­ac­ter who stops at noth­ing to fur­ther his ne­far­i­ous ends.

His one weak­ness is his ac­ci­dent­prone son, Bobby ( Gre­gory Smith), whose con­tin­ued bum­bling and ea­ger­ness to prove him­self brings down nearly every­one with whom he comes into con­tact. This in­cludes us­ing girl­friend Fran­cis ( Elisha Cuth­bert) as a mule to buy guns at a US fair and smug­gle them back across the bor­der.

Also tied to the bad guys is re­cently re­leased con­vict Con­rod ( Cle Ben­nett), who quickly turns back to crime af­ter his re­turn to the vi­o­lence of the projects and the com­pany of his cousin Derek ( K. C. Collins). Derek is try­ing to es­cape his dodgy up­bring­ing by putting him­self through school and

Heated de­bate: Colm Fe­ore, left, and Gre­gory Smith star in gets a job as a news­pa­per in­tern. But he finds him­self sucked back into the past by the re­turn of Con­rod and agrees to go on one last crime spree.

Pit­ted against the bad guys are weapons cops Ford Saun­ders ( Lyriq Bent) and Rick Mer­ri­weather ( Shawn Doyle). Mer­ri­weather is trau­ma­tised by his un­suc­cess­ful at­tempt to re­vive the shot lit­tle girl and his ded­i­ca­tion to the job is caus­ing ten­sion at home. Saun­ders’s ca­reer and love life are also in tur­moil af­ter his news­pa­per re­porter girl­friend, Ines ( Athena Karka­nis), rum­maged through his note­book to get a scoop. Al­though no longer trusted by his su­pe­ri­ors, he is the one with the links that ul­ti­mately will al­low the po­lice to piece to­gether the jig­saw.

A gritty of­fer­ing that’s bet­ter than av­er­age, this made-for-tele­vi­sion drama falls short of the dra­matic heights and un­stint­ing re­al­ism of shows such as HBO’s The Wire . How­ever, Guns picks up as the threads are drawn to­gether. By the sur­prise cliffhanger end­ing of the first in­stal­ment, peo­ple will likely be hooked enough to want to tune in for the sec­ond part.

Steve Creedy

Guns

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