Jason Lei Howden’s 2019 action film Guns Akimbo had a massive amount of hype in the lead up to its release thanks to various amounts of images shared of the film’s lead Daniel Radcliffe walking around New York in a frenzy in his dressing gown while sporting guns. People thought Radcliffe was having a breakdown but rest assured he was just filming. The film explores a criminal organisation known as Skizm which has gained massive popularity online thanks to their competitions which sees criminals go head to head to the death which is live streamed. When app designer Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) becomes comfortable telling viewers in the forum how pathetic they are, he is tracked down by Skizm and forced to face off with their leading figure, Nix (Samara Weaving). What follows is a film filled with lots of chaos, blood violence which makes it unsuitable for the faint of heart but it is always undoubtedly one of the most original films you’ll come across.
Primarily an action film, Guns Akimbo dabbles in an array of different genres including comedy and horror. Written and directed by Howden, the film starts off by setting up Miles’ character and the lead up the situation that results in his involvement with Skizm. Once this happens, the film appears to take a complete 180 and becomes relentless in its pace and keeps you gripped for the duration of the film as the dynamic between Miles and Nix shifts as they try to kill the other without dying themselves. Howden’s direction is extremely loud and chaotic which helps to highlight the tight script that has lots of character development, especially that of the film’s leading characters. Howden has certainly made an impression with this stunning film.
Daniel Radcliffe continues to show off his acting range and does a terrific job as Miles. Miles is not the typical everyman figure. After all, he ends up involved in Skizm and has guns attached to his hands for the majority of the film. Since his decade long tenure as the titular character in the Harry Potter film series, Radcliffe has opted to act in films that challenge him as an actor. His performance as Miles shows how charismatic he can be as well as highlighting that he is more than capable of leading a film outside of the Harry Potter franchise. The character growth that Miles goes through from an everyman who doesn’t know anything about the criminal world to a trigger happy hero who aims to take down the organisation. Radcliffe’s performance is fun, energetic and highly entertaining, keeping us engrossed for the whole film.
The supporting performance comes from modern scream queen, Samara Weaving who pulls of a fantastic performance as Nix, the magnetic killer who wants to be freed from her criminal lifestyle and start a clean slate. Weaving can always been trusted to provide stellar turns no matter what she is in and her performance as Nix is no exception. Unpredictable and completely wild, Nix is a fantastic character who brings most of the violence and the chemistry that Weaving and Radcliffe have is part of what really works in this film. What makes Nix such an interesting character is how we learn bits and pieces about her as the film progresses as though she is a jigsaw puzzle to put together. If you’ve seen Ready or Not or The Babysitter and are wanting to view another Weaving flick then this is a great gem to watch.
Overall, Guns Akimbo is a film that brings the style and substance which makes it such an effective look as to how social media can feed into violence and vice versa. Howden’s film isn’t afraid to ask questions about culpability and ask whether watching such violence actually perpetrates it or if the viewer is blameless. Using the character of Miles as a physical representation of this, Guns Akimbo is a great film that should definitely be viewed at least once.
What did you think of Guns Akimbo? Let me know in the comments below!
Guns Akimbo is available to watch on Amazon Prime in the UK now!