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Gun Runners is an intimate look at a world most of us know nothing about

2.5 out of 4 stars

Gun Runners
Written by
Anjali Nayar
Directed by
Anjali Nayar
Julius Arile, Robert Matanda

In her first feature documentary, the Montreal-born and Nairobi-based Anjali Nayar offers a story about a pair of Kenyan cattle rustlers who trade in their AK-47s for running shoes. Julius Arile is the swifter of the two, while Robert Matanda is presented as more ruthless. Both are described as "warriors," but really they're just thieving marauders, which makes them hard to root for, even if filmmaker Nayar pushes the redemption narrative hard. Also troubling is that while the film's poster art shows two would-be marathoners running side by side, Matanda is not an athlete of any serious kind. As for Arile, as much as the film depicts him as someone admirably putting everything on the line to achieve his life-changing long-distance dreams, he doesn't show much interest in putting in the training needed to win the races. Still, Gun Runners is a contextual, intimate look inside a world most of us know nothing about. Life's marathons are all the same distance, but some of them are run more uphill than others. (PG) Brad Wheeler

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