[box cover]

Year of the Gun

Director John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate) returns to the political arena in this interesting — albeit uneven — 1991 thriller, loosely based on the real-life adventures of Newsweek writer Michael Meshaw. When American journalist David Raybourne (Andrew McCarthy) accidentally uncovers a terrorist plot to kidnap a prominent Italian politician, he becomes targeted for execution. With the help of Alison (Sharon Stone), an impulsive freelance photographer, David struggles to stay alive long enough to contact the proper authorities. The political aspects of Year of the Gun are fascinating, unraveling on the screen like a game of chess. Unfortunately, the film chokes itself with mundane subplots, including David's romance with a lovely Italian woman (Valeria Golino) who may or may not be an informer for the Red Brigade. A budding sexual relationship between David and Alison is allowed almost no time to develop — it's so unconvincing that it nearly derails the entire story. But Gun's frantic energy and political savvy make up for any plot deficiencies, and the photography is hard to beat; filmed by acclaimed cinematographer Blasco Giuarto (Cinema Paradiso), the visuals are stylish throughout. Year of the Gun is presented in a nice full-frame (not 1.66:1 widescreen, as the box claims) transfer. Trailer, keep-case.
—Joe Barlow

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