Filipino Crime Thriller ‘The Girl and the Gun’ is an Engaging Tale of Female Empowerment

Alice Oscura, Featured Writer

Plot: A young, quiet woman finds a discarded gun in an alleyway and decides to stop being a victim.

Warning: Spoilers Ahead.

Review: So, what can I say about The Girl and the Gun? Well, apart from the fact that it is quite literally about a young woman finding a gun, this is the first thriller from the Philippines that I have ever seen. You really got to hand to Netflix for exposing viewers to content that one normally wouldn’t seek out.

The Girl and the Gun, originally titled “Babae at baril”, is an extremely symbolic movie that focuses on a society dominated by men and their ignorance and violent, aggressive treatment of women. It also touches upon a particular way of life in the Philippines where the gun stars as a virtual catalyst for empowering its bearer. It can also be viewed as a coming-of-age story wrapped up within a female-revenge thriller. The main protagonist (who remains unnamed) is played by actress Janine Gutierrez. Her character is a shy, socially awkward young woman from the province (countryside). She lives a life that is clearly way below the minimum wage income bracket as she cannot afford to pay her rent in full or even purchase a new pair of stockings, which is a mandatory part of her uniform for her job in the department store. This is a point that her hard-nosed boss doesn’t fail to keep chastising her about every time her sees her damaged stockings.

She mostly suffers in silence and as a woman she is not respected within that type of society. She is catcalled every single night that she returns home by the same group of drunken men, and her sleazy landlord threatens to evict her because he has other people interested in the room that she shares with a roommate. Upon viewing the development of her story, you see that she is clearly ill-equipped and lacked the street smarts needed be able to combat the rough treatment of city life, especially living in a part of the city overrun with crime and corruption which is presented with grimy and gritty cinematography.

However, everyone has their boiling point! After she is assaulted by a co-worker and retrieves the discarded .38 special handgun from the alleyway, something changes in her demeanour. The way she carries herself in her posture, the expression on her face, and even her language gets more aggressive because at this point she has simply had enough. The gun is a symbol of empowerment to her and, although she hardly uses it, just the fact that she had it in her possession seemed to give her a backbone.

However, one of the main issues that I had with this film is that after building this relationship between the audience and our main protagonist we get an interruption in the flow and pacing of her story. Plugged awkwardly into the film is a backstory showing the journey and origins of the gun, from its assembly to how it switches hands and the violence that it imbues the owners with until they become consumed by either hatred or suffer ill-fated consequences. It brings to mind one of those famous quotes “With great power comes great responsibility.” The girl’s story does continue when the gun’s story runs its course, but I would have preferred not to have my attention diverted to a bunch of new characters that lacked the careful development of the main protagonist.

Gutierrez delivers a powerfully engaging performance, and I honestly wouldn’t have minded if the writers wished to continue her story. I am curious to know if she made it back home to her province and how her family would have reacted to the personality change in her. The Girl and The Gun has its flaws, but it is definitely guaranteed to pull in your attention to the story of how one gun managed to have an effect on different people’s lives.

Alice’s Score: 6.5 out of 10

You can find more female-led thriller content below:

The Devil to Pay is a Brilliant, Riveting Thriller

Thriller/Comedy ‘Promising Young Woman’ is a Wicked Good Time

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Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump. I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. Read More