The Rubber Gun
Format: 16mm Colour
Runtime: 86 min
St. Lawrence Films Productions Inc.
In this semi-autobiographical, semi-experimental film (described by its makers as “Huck Finn on coke – a memoir of the drug generation”) the characters bear the same names as the actors. Steve Lack is a suave, funky drug dealer, artist and guru to a street community “family” in Montreal. But the group is threatened from within and without. Brawley has turned from coke to heroin and Pierre follows suit. The group’s latest shipment of cocaine sits in a locker in Windsor station surrounded by cops, so the family can’t get at it. At the same time, a sociology student, Moyle, is doing his thesis on Lack and the family and has insinuated himself into the group. Finally, Pierre and Brawley make a move to pick up the cocaine and are caught and sent to prison, which accelerates the disillusioned family’s disintegration. Steve, the only survivor, turns back to his art.
Made collectively over several months in late 1974 and early 1975 (but not released until 1977) by the same cast and crew as Frank Vitale’s Montreal Main (1972), The Rubber Gun is one of the best films of the seventies. Though budgeted at a modest $90,000, the film was rejected by the Canadian Film Development Corporation and was financed instead with grants; it received a modest theatrical release in its 35mm version through Cineplex and drew rave reviews, particularly in the United States.
Combining improvisation, direct cinema and an intricate Pirandellian structure, director Allan Moyle’s brilliant feature film debut – which earned Genie Award nominations for Lead Actor (Stephen Lack) and Original Screenplay (Lack, John Laing, Moyle) – is at once a moving portrait of the counterculture and a telling analysis of its breakup under pressure. Those who made the film have since gone their separate ways.