Date: 8th September 2000
Critics also are poles apart on The Way of the Gun. The Wall Street Journal's Joe Morgenstern calls it "doomy trash, a blood-soaked saga of remorseless killers and natural-born blatherers." He adds, "I'm sure I've seen worse movies, but nothing so steadfastly unpleasant comes to mind." But Stephen Hunter in the Washington Post calls the film a "masterwork" and compares it with such classics as High Sierra, Suddenly, Reservoir Dogs and The Usual Suspects (the latter, director Christopher McQuarrie's first movie.) The critics noticeably divide over the performance of Ryan Phillippe, described by many of them as "pretty boy." Steve Murray in the Atlanta Journal comments: "You get your first whiff of the movie's tough-posturing fakery in its first scene, when you glimpse baby-faced Ryan Phillippe, drudged-out with a grungy beard, trying to play tough guy in a parking lot. He most resembles 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake on a bender. It gets a lot worse from there." But Elvis Mitchell in the New York Times is impressed with Phillippe's talent. "Mr. Phillippe is the real surprise," he writes. "His angel-boy face is hidden under wiry scrubs of facial hair, and he uses a runty voice as if he had studied the Dustin Hoffman or Al Pacino of the 1970's. (He sounds particularly like the Pacino of Serpico, speaking as if he burned the roof of his mouth.)"
Source: Studio Briefing