My New Gun

(Stacy Cochran, USA, 1992)


It does My New Gun a grave disservice to lump it in with the early '90s wave of gritty, violent films coming out of the American independent scene. Stacy Cochran's debut feature is a virtually non-violent comedy, one that delights in the minute details of mutually spaced-out misunderstanding that occur between quietly lost souls.

As if to gently revise David Lynch's overwrought, nightmarish visions, Cochran sets her camera down in suburbia: too neat and clean, a little disquieting and menacing, but nonetheless a place where a recognisably real woman (Diane Lane as Debbie) can fumble towards a sense of herself.

Debbie one day finds herself poised between a boorish, mostly absent husband (Stephen Collins) and a strangely attractive neighbour (James Le Gros) with extremely enigmatic family connections.

Everything in the plot is focussed on the new gun that enters Debbie's home, a pesky object that moves from hand to hand but never goes away.

Although Cochran has her points to make about the pervasive and insane gun culture of America, this prop functions more like a Hitchcockian MacGuffin: a largely insignificant item which nonetheless manages to precipitate a small catastrophe in everyday life.

With excellent performances and a droll, thoughtful wit, My New Gun is well worth a look.

© Adrian Martin November 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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