User Reviews (4)

Add a Review

  • Our "CanCon" (Canadian content) legislation can be both a blessing and a curse. Because 30% of our TV waves have to have homegrown content, a lot of stations fill lazy afternoons with Canadian movies to honour that. In some cases, it isn't very flattering, because any more they often show the same mediocre stuff again and again. However, one station squeezed in RUBBER GUN about 12 years ago. Typically, I haven't seen it on air since- this is a shame because I remember it being a rather remarkable little movie.

    Before Allan Moyle went to Hollywood to make movies about counter-cultural lifestyles (TIMES SQUARE, PUMP UP THE VOLUME), he made this fascinating, gritty ensemble piece about drug users in Montreal. Now, since mainstream cinema had had its fill of movies about addiction in the 10 years prior, this one may be a case of too little too late.

    People who remember Stephen Lack's rather unappealing performance in SCANNERS may be interested to see his animated portrayal of a gonzo character. But RUBBER GUN is however unique for it is the rare film (or at least among the first) that shows drug addiction as seen through the eyes of children. Even though these substance abusers have grown up and have children of their own, their habits inevitably affect the family unit.

    I'd love to see this picture again; are you listening, Bravo?
  • I saw this movie in my film school days and still remember it as one of the best films I saw that decade (70s)....and I saw many many very good films. I have hoped to see it again, but it never reappeared, not even on video. It has an interesting sorta dual plot line and very good realistic acting and dialog. Actually - the most realistic dialog of any film I have ever seen. I think I read that most of the actors were non-actors and much of the acting was improvised, which makes their performance even more amazing. This is one of several films I saw I my film school days that I saw once, when it made its rep house circuit, and then disappeared forever....that I wish would be resurrected on video or DVD.
  • In a book store, smooth-talking hard drug dealer/user Steve (painter Stephen Lack) meets Allan (Allan Moyle) - a young sociology student at McGill. They become fast friends and Allan is invited to Steve's studio apartment on Montreal main to meet his commune/drug network.

    Allan decides he wants to do a paper with the controversial position that drug use has positive effects using Steve's 'family' as a case study. Life with Steve & the gang isn't quite as rosy as it might appear to Allan at first but it isn't quite as sleazy as it might appear to others either.

    Pierre (Pierre Robert), a bisexual, heroin addict/male prostitute with a wife and small daughter looks to displace Steve as the leader of the group when, compelled by his addiction he concocts a plan to steal drugs from a storage locker at the train station. Steve, having nearly followed through on the same plan, is certain it is a trap. Being indiscreetly watched and recorded by corrupt narcotics cops the tension rises.

    Since so very few films were being made in Canada at the time it was nevertheless lauded for the aspects which could be praised. The premise is strong and the framing device of the sociology paper is a good one. But the amateur performers and lack of production resources yielded an unsatisfactory finished product. Heavily improvised what is shown works considerably less often than it does.

    The controversy to be found in this film goes beyond the fact that a toddler is being raised amongst a group of hard core stoners. Steve and another gay dude are also to be seen gleefully checking out young boys playing hockey in a parkette leaving little doubt as to why they are looking or more specifically what they are looking at. They take one of the most innocent things in Canadian life and turn it into something tawdry.

    Persuading prudish elements in Canada of the merits of this film remains difficult. When a country views reflections of itself via its parochial cinema what it sees is sometimes unflattering or at very least not reflective of mainstream interpretation.

    As this title was created with Arts Council and Film Board assistance it is worth noting that Canadian taxpayers partially footed the bill for it. Moyle's directing career and that of score composer Lewis Furey flourished as a result and their taxes more than replenished what it cost.

    The critical acclaim of the Rubber Gun led to Moyle's directing career and he went on to direct such Hollywood films as Times Square (1980), Pump Up the Volume (1990) and Canadian films The New Waterford Girl (1999) and Weirdsville (2007).
  • The Rubber Gun is a fairly typical Canadian drama from the 70's though the subject matter may not be quite so common for the time.

    The story centers around a drug commune in Montreal. It consists of 4 main figures, a student outsider, a couple in the commune's daughter, some stragglers who play a much smaller role, and the police detectives. Drug commune's were not so unusual in the 60's, obviously, but this story focuses on one of these commune's years after the fact and you can sense a struggle brewing within as the years have gone by.

    The story opens with a suitcase full of coke arriving and is put in a locker in a station waiting for pickup. The members of the commune go to see if they can pick it up but find the station is swarming with men they quickly suspect are plain clothes police detectives waiting for someone to take a chance and pick it up. While the commune wrestle with the idea of taking the suitcase or plotting a way to take it, a University student joins their commune and makes a study of them without their knowledge. The student and the leader of the commune played by Stephen Lack end up living together while the commune begins to break apart.

    There's some serious gay undertones in this but you get the sense that the adults in this commune had been screwing each other while they were high and it didn't really mean anything. The scene with Peter and Stephen acting like they were coming on to boys playing hockey (mentioned by another reviewer) was more like a dumb joke than a real attempt to come on to them. They never actually approach any of them.

    Two members of the commune have a young daughter and you feel for this character having to be brought up in this atmosphere. Children were bound to be in real communes of these kind. The girl. named Rainbow is still too young to understand her surroundings but Lack's character shares the sympathy for the child that the audience undoubtedly were feeling when seeing her during one scene. You don't get a sense that she's abused in any way, though it's hard to ignore how poor her environment is and what damage that will cause her in the long run.

    Stephen Lack's character to me, also sums up the state of these communes in a single scene. He discusses how these older druggies spend most of their time getting high just to reminisce about the old times when they got high and nothing more. "They do it to feel 5 years younger" At some point people have to move on from the past and that's where the conflict in the story really begins. Some characters want nothing more but to break away from it and some just can't see a reason why they should ever bother trying to do that.

    The film itself has a Cassavetes feel to it. A gritty kind of realism in the dialog and nature of the scenes depicted. If you want to know what I mean and you can't find this film, watch Cassavetes' Faces to understand the comparison. You don't get a sense that anyone in this is really acting. You feel like these people really are like this. I'm sure some of them did actually spend time in these types of communes but I'm sure this story is entirely fiction even though the character names match the actor's names.

    I adore the soundtrack and the way it is used. The soundtrack is made up entirely of songs performed by Lewis Furey from his self titled album, and it fits this movie beautifully.

    Not an easy movie to find. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I more or less stumbled across it by accident. I do recommend seeing it if it ever surfaces.