Everyday Activist - Gun Runners

Posted on Friday, October 07, 2016 at 05:00 PM

Movie: Gun Runners

Gun Runners

Movie Review by Everyday Activist X CalgaryMovies.com

Anjali Nayar’s film Gun Runners, which follows the lives of two friends Julius Arile and Robert Matanda, took ten years to make. She followed them as they transition from violent cattle rustlers into marathon runners. The most endearing quality of the film is that Nayar portrays each man as a human being not as a Disney hero rising out of poverty into fame, as we saw in the recent release of Queen of Katwe. In both cases these men rose out of violence to endure other struggles of training and family life that Nayar doesn’t shy away from addressing.

Because of gun violence, Kenya developed an amnesty program, where people could give away their guns. To further promote peace, running camps and programs also developed. Arile and later Matanda gave up their guns and took up running. Arile the more ambitious and talented runner made it to the international stage, while Matanda stayed closer to home, coaching runners and becoming a farmer. By settling down he was able to provide a more stable life for his wife and children, who had accompanied him during his cattle rustling days. The need for power stays with Matanda as he backs local politicians at the expense of his family.

Arile had the more story-worthy life in terms of the archetype of a man from a small village making it big internationally, not only to run but also to talk about gun violence in Africa and some of the solutions. The fascinating dichotomy of Arile is we want hold him up as an example, except that he has made some pretty bad choices in life that his family won’t let him forget. For all the races he’s won and placed well, his mother and brothers would rather have him at home helping them with the farm and HIS children rather than running around the world. Before his days as a cattle rustler, he dishonored his family when he got a young woman pregnant and she killed herself. In a note she blamed him and the neighbors instituted some vigilante style justice robbing the family of all their wealth, while Arile ran into the bush. Eventually he makes his amends to his family, which includes not one, but three wives and around seven children.

In terms of a biopic, Gun Runners is a good film. It was interesting to see how life paths differ and characters portrayed in a human light. Nayar could have talked a bit more with the issues of gun violence and the broader effects of the running program. I would have liked to have seen some statistics to support the notion that the running program worked. Gun Runners will play at the Globe Friday October 7th, 2016.

Wear your runners. 

Calgary Showtimes: Gun Runners >


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