HANDGUN (AKA DEEP IN THE HEART) (1983)


Written & Directed By: Tony Garnett
Cinematography: Charles Stewart
Editor: William Shafter

Cast: Karen Young, Clayton Davis, Suzie Humphreys, Helena Humann

Shortly after moving to Dallas, a young woman is raped at gunpoint. Her intense anger drives her to seek revenge, and she becomes a hunter on a vengeance mission.


The movie is obvious yet simple definitely dated as of the attitude of the male lead and the characters, in general, might have been average for those times but comes off piggish, misogynistic, scary, and rather despicable.

Half of the enjoyment of the film is waiting and watching for him to get his comeuppance. The film Is made in Texas and has a more conservative attitude as most of the characters do The lead actress in this film Karen Young is one of these actresses you constantly see in things and are usually good but never quite become the star. This is the first time I have ever really seen her in a starring role.

Her character after being raped by a guy she is dating and not being able to find justice. We watch as she prepares to get revenge learning how to shoot and learning survival Info and technique. As well as taking an interest in knives.

The films differentiate in that while Learning this she keeps running into her rapist. Lawyer and gun advocate who belongs to the same gun club. So they keep running into one another and he notices a Definite change in her. As she seems to be warning him it seems she becomes more and more intimidating to him And it is obvious she is wounded yet on the hunt. 

The lead male played by Clayton Davis is believable yet amateurish. He comes off naturally as a mean spirited character. Who never comes off as charming as even the movie tries to hint at him being. Not only a good old boy but sex-obsessed as he leers at teenage cheerleaders and ice skaters but also spends his nights drinking with colleagues at bars ogling scantily clad busty girls fighting one another. (Somehow this is supposed to be above Mudwrestling? maybe cleaner?) 

He also shows himself to always be in control and knowing what he s doing. as even when raping her earning what could happen with the gun he has pointed at her and what will happen as he will explain her shooting as an accident. How it will be covered up and thrown out of court. If she doesn’t give in. As he seems dead set on bedding her from the beginning and gets more forceful the more she resists him. We see his frustrations and machinations. Especially as he believes he is right and this way is better for her. As her rejection of him sexually is obviously her having sexual problems and hang-ups. He seems like an obvious date rapist especially by modern-day standards. Before the Term and type were more common.

If it were made today he would come off as a stereotype. The film Shows every aspect of the Rape except for the act and shows his behavior as obviously premeditated. 

The film is pretty simple it seems a bit bold for the time period it was made during. It’s better Than expected. So direct it feels more like it was made for tv issue of the week. Rather than cinema, but it works with no inspired touches.

Being that it takes place in Texas most of the attitudes of the characters do come off racist/conservative old school. This allows the crime to happen but also allows for her revenge so easily.

The film doesn’t ask any moral questions. It pretty much has you rooting for her from the beginning. Never questioning her actions or decisions. 

The film is entertaining with not much finesse but a story that keeps you interested. The ending is not what you expect and comes off as rather light. This is a revenge tale, not a vigilante one. As she has her eyes all set on him And no one else nor becoming a crusader.

The film shows men aren’t All evil but seem to be bullheaded throughout. This makes a good double featured with them sally field vigilante movie EYE FOR AN EYE. 

Grade: B-

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