The Gunman (2015 film)

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The Gunman
The Gunman Official Theatrical Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPierre Morel
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based onThe Prone Gunman
by Jean-Patrick Manchette
Music byMarco Beltrami
CinematographyFlavio Martinez Labiano
Edited byFrédéric Thoraval
Distributed byOpen Road Films
Release date
  • February 16, 2015 (2015-02-16) (London)
  • March 20, 2015 (2015-03-20) (United States)
  • June 24, 2015 (2015-06-24) (France)
Running time
115 minutes[1]
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Spain
  • France
Budget$40 million[2]
Box office$24.2 million[3]

The Gunman is a 2015 action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel and written by Don Macpherson, Pete Travis and Sean Penn, based on the novel The Prone Gunman (French title: La position du tireur couché) by Jean-Patrick Manchette. It stars Penn along with Javier Bardem, Idris Elba, Mark Rylance, Jasmine Trinca and Ray Winstone.[4] The film is about Jim Terrier (Penn), a mercenary who assassinates the Minister of Mining of the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006 on orders from multinational mining companies. Eight years after Terrier has retired from mercenary work, he and the people close to him become the targets of hit squads sent by a powerful multinational security firm, and he must fight to stay alive. The film was released on March 20, 2015 by Open Road Films. It was a box office bomb, grossing just $24 million against its $40 million budget and receiving a poor critical reception.


American Jim Terrier (Sean Penn), is a former Special Forces soldier who has become a black-ops mercenary. He is part of a team deployed by a corporation in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006, under the cover of providing security to local projects. He falls in love with Annie (Jasmine Trinca), a fellow expat working as an NGO doctor in a local hospital. During this period, even though civil war has wreaked havoc on the country, large multinational mining companies continue to profit from the country's mining industry. After the Minister of Mining announces his plans to declare contracts with the mining companies unjust and renegotiate the terms, the mining companies hire Terrier's team to assassinate the Minister to ensure their access to the rich mineral resources. Terrier delivers the fatal shot from a sniper rifle and flees from Africa, leaving Annie behind. After that, Terrier retires from his mercenary career.

Eight years later he returns to DRC as a charity worker to build wells. One day Terrier is brutally assaulted by a local hit squad, but he manages to kill them all. While searching the attackers' bodies, he finds signs that the attack was not random and that he was the target. Scared and suspicious, Terrier flees to London to meet an ex-mercenary colleague, who reveals that Cox, their ex-boss in the Congo assassination, has formed a large international security firm offering its services to major clients, such as the Pentagon. The firm's head wants to eliminate all of the former members of the assassination squad as revelations of their former activities could hinder the development of the new firm. Now the firm's hit teams chase Terrier around the clock, meanwhile killing his friends and kidnapping Annie.

However, Terrier still keeps highly compromising materials that can reveal Cox's role in the Congo assassination and uses it to lure Cox and his team to a bullfight in Spain, threatening to expose their complicity unless they trade Annie for the evidence. Unknown to them, Terrier makes a deal with Interpol to provide evidence to aid their ongoing investigation. Despite battling severe head trauma suffered from his violent past, Terrier defeats the experienced mercenaries sent to kill him. As he struggles to help Annie escape to safety, Cox discovers them. Terrier is wounded but manages to shoot Cox, who is then gored by a loose bull. Interpol officers arrive and take Terrier into custody, though Agent Barnes promises to do what he can to help Terrier avoid doing more jail time than necessary.

The film ends with Terrier, recovered and released from prison, reuniting with Annie in the DRC.




Circa January 2013, French action director Pierre Morel (Taken) entered negotiations to direct Sean Penn in Prone Gunman, an action thriller being produced by Silver PicturesJoel Silver and Andrew Rona. The film is based on the 1981 novel The Prone Gunman by French crime novelist Jean-Patrick Manchette.[5] The project, from Silver Pictures, was fully financed by StudioCanal, who sold out rights to the film at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[6]

In May 2013, Deadline Hollywood reported that Javier Bardem would play a villain.[4] In June, Deadline stated that Ray Winstone had just joined the project. He played a mentor of the hitman (Penn), who is betrayed and then hunted by the organization he worked for. Italian Jasmine Trinca became the female lead.[7] Bardem played Trinca’s husband, and Elba played a mysterious operative named Dupont.[8][9]

On May 8, 2014, Open Road Films acquired the US distribution rights to the film.[10]


Principal photography took place in the spring of 2013 in Barcelona and Logroño, Spain; Gibraltar; Cape Town, South Africa; and Wimbledon Studios, England.[11]


Box office[edit]

The Gunman grossed $10.7 million in the United States and Canada and $13.5 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $24.2 million, against a production budget of $40 million.[3]

The film grossed $5 million in its opening weekend, finishing at 4th at the box office.

Critical response[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an approval rating of 17% based on 171 reviews, with a rating average of 4.4/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "With an uninspired plot and rote set pieces that are overshadowed by its star's physique, The Gunman proves a muddled misfire in the rapidly aging Over-50 Action Hero genre."[12] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating, the film has a score of 39 out of 100, based on 41 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[13] According to CinemaScore, audiences gave the film a grade of "B−" on an A+ to F scale.[14]


  1. ^ "THE GUNMAN (15)". British Board of Film Classification. February 6, 2015. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  2. ^ "'Insurgent' could kick off with as much as $60 million". LA Times. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "The Gunman (2015)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 16, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (June 5, 2013). "Javier Bardem Pacts Pair: He'll Star In J.C. Chandor's 'A Most Violent Year' And Opposite Sean Penn In 'The Gunman'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  5. ^ "Ray Winstone To Train 'The Gunman'". The Hollywood News. June 16, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  6. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (May 19, 2013). "Cannes: Raft Of Buyers Target Studiocanal's Sean Penn-Starrer 'The Gunman'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  7. ^ Fleming, Mike (June 14, 2013). "Ray Winstone Has Sean Penn's Back In 'The Gunman'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  8. ^ "Idris Elba Joins Sean Penn and Javier Bardem in Pierre Morel's 'Gunman' - /Film". June 14, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  9. ^ "Idris Elba Set To Join Sean Penn, Jasmine Trinca & Javier Bardem In 'The Gunman'". June 14, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  10. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (May 8, 2014). "Open Road Acquiring StudioCanal's 'The Gunman' With Sean Penn, Javier Bardem, Idris Elba And Ray Winstone". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 9, 2014.
  11. ^ "'Taken' Director to Helm Sean Penn Thriller 'Prone Gunman' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. January 28, 2013. Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  12. ^ "The Gunman". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  13. ^ "The Gunman Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  14. ^ "CinemaScore". Retrieved July 15, 2015.

External links[edit]