Written and directed by Gigi Gaston, “9 Bullets” is a total misfire, the only attraction of which is probably Lena Headey in the lead role, that too for her previous works and not because of this particular film. What can be worse than a leaky and superficial plot is an instance where a film bases itself a lot on emotions and feelings, and those emotions are never successfully conveyed to the audience. “9 Bullets” suffers from this, as it sets out to tell the story of a middle-aged woman, Gypsy, gradually growing close and friendly to her neighbor’s kid, Sam, but none of the emotions are felt while watching it.
‘9 Bullets’ Plot Summary
Gypsy is a middle-aged woman living all by herself, aspiring to get her book published, which is in the works. Her main profession is that of a burlesque dancer, but she wants to shift away from it, mostly because of her aging body and because she finds her passion in writing. Her neighbor’s young boy, Sam, and his pet dog, Moses, are friendly with the woman, and it is with the boy that trouble begins. One day, while Gypsy is at work, she is called up by his neighbor, Ralph, who desperately asks for her help. Ralph had stolen a large sum of money from a local criminal, Jack, and the gangster had now sent men after him to kill him and his family. Jack and Gypsy, however, have a history together, as Ralph claims she is the only person Jack would listen to. As a panicky Ralph tries to drive away from danger with his wife and mother in the car, he calls up his son, instructing him to quickly come down to a certain spot along with his iPad, for all the necessary codes and information are stored on that device. Sam reaches the designated place on time, along with his dog, but his family is shot dead almost right in front of his eyes.
Meanwhile, guessing that something terrible has happened, Gypsy drives back home and finds a weeping Sam hiding in her bathroom. Although not very keen on having to disrupt her own life to essentially babysit a kid and a dog, Gypsy cannot help but provide assistance to the boy, for she knows that he would be killed if Jack gets his hands on him. Quickly packing her bags, she takes Sam and Moses on her semi-truck and drives away from their neighborhood and town, to get as far as possible from her ruthless ex-lover.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Can Gypsy Keep Sam Away From Trouble Forever?
Gypsy’s plan is to escort Sam to his uncle’s place, who is a rabbi at a synagogue in a city some distance away. But the uncle does not seem to have been very connected with his brother, and although he agrees to take the child in, he asks for some time to prepare for such a sudden change in his life. Gypsy aggressively claims that the boy, too, did not get any time to prepare for such a massive change of fate and decides to hand the boy off at his uncle’s place no matter what. On the way, she stops at a hotel and puts up with the boy there, and realizes that the boy is too chatty and attention-seeking for her solitary life. But she also realizes why Sam craves such love and affection, as he is, after all, a kid who has lost everyone he knew in life all of a sudden. His only companions now are his dog and his neighbor, who has been taking him away from trouble. He realizes what the trouble is, though, as Sam is an extremely intelligent and sharp kid who keeps mining and investing in cryptocurrency. But in his childhood arrogance, he often refuses to cooperate with Gypsy until apologizing and trying to get back to her good terms only a little while later.
On the other hand, Gypsy has to constantly look out for the boy’s and her own safety, as Jack’s men have already been following her and even questioned her about her neighbor’s boy, to which she lied. After some time, she realizes that it is best to use her old charms on Jack, and she visits him at his residence, claiming to hand over her neighbor’s dog to him. Jack admits that she has always been the love of his life, despite having cheated on her multiple times while being together, and that he is still interested in her. Gypsy, however, knows better, and she denies any commitment to him and manages to bring the dog back alive. Despite trying to convince Jack to let the boy alone, though, she finds out that her ex-boyfriend has placed a tracker on her car, suspecting that she has the boy with her.
They somehow manage to evade the gang men at the hotel’s parking lot and then throw away the tracker on a different car, duping the men in the wrong direction. Gypsy then casually breaks into an unlocked car and steals it, only to put the men off her track. Sure enough, the men track her semi-truck down with the help of their police friends, and momentarily lose track of them. However, Gypsy and Sam shockingly realize that they are also accompanied by another woman who had been sleeping inside the car and claims it to be her own. Gypsy persuades this woman, Tasmin, to help them and drop them off at their location, and they continue to journey together. They gradually bond with Tasmin too, and take another stop, but have to rush out again as Gypsy realizes Jack has set off the police after her, claiming that Sam is a missing child. Tasmin helps them out of this situation in return for some money that Gypsy promises to give her once they get to their destination. That night, they reach Cascade, Montana, where Gypsy’s close friend Lacey prepares a safe space for them. Leaving the boy and the dog back, Gypsy takes Tasmin to the local graveyard, where she digs up an empty grave, which actually contains a bag full of money that Jack had saved up for her when they were together. However, Jack also remembers this spot and confronts them here, making Tasmin flee the scene. Gypsy manages to survive the night by hiding inside a concrete casket, and Lacey gives Sam and Moses company on the other side. The next morning, they meet up at a predetermined spot, and Gypsy and Sam now drive forward towards Sam’s uncle, leaving Moses behind with Lacey.
Along with the progressing plot, “9 Bullets” tries to build up the gradual relationship of friendliness and possible kinship between solitary Gypsy and young Sam. The woman, who is often irritated by the boy’s actions and her decision to keep him tagging along, also finds company in the boy. The boy seems mentally more mature than his physical age, and despite his childly perceptions, he realizes that nobody really wants him and that Gypsy is the only one who cares about him even a small bit. Gradually, Gypsy opens up to him about her own past—she had been forced upon by a college professor, the result of which was a son that she decided to keep and raise as her own. But the child soon died tragically in a car accident, for which Gypsy still holds herself responsible, and she admits that she is not good around children because they remind her of her own child and her failure. Though such emotions are brought in, they remain restricted only to the point of being stated rather than being felt. The film overall lacks the chemistry and emotiveness that were required to make it convincing.
‘9 Bullets’ Ending Explained: Does Jack Get The Money Back?
Jack and his men track down Tasmin to interrogate her about Gypsy’s location, and she fearfully tells them of Lacey’s house. One of the men possibly spares Tasmin’s life, as she weeps that she has been returning home to her estranged mother, and then they go over to Lacey’s. They are not accompanied by Jack, though, who is seen returning to his current lover, Lisa, a young, influential woman who wants Jack to get into politics. Lacey has a very aggressive reaction to the men, as she was prepared for such a visit, and shoots dead one of the men with her lethal shotgun. On the other hand, Gypsy advises Sam to return to Jack all the money that his father had stolen, for there is no end to running away from crime. She calls up Jack, asking him again to spare the child once he returns the money, and Sam does so shortly after. He and Gypsy then reach the rabbi’s synagogue, where they enter and listen to a sermon about repentance. This convinces Gypsy to not leave the child behind and instead take him along with her and keep him as a part of her life.
As the two happily exit the building, though, they are tracked down by two of Jack’s men, who have been promised even more money to kill Gypsy by Lisa. They manage to shoot Gypsy down, with the final shot fired by Lisa herself, who kills the woman out of jealousy. But Gypsy manages to shoot the two men dead before dying, and keeps Sam out of trouble as Lisa has no intention of killing him. The boy is shocked by the whole scene and desperately cries for help. Despite having been shot five times from point-blank range, Gypsy wakes up in the hospital a few weeks later, perhaps out of her sheer insistence from the very beginning that it would take nine bullets to kill her, as she is like a cat with nine lives. Sam joyfully welcomes her back to consciousness, and he has even identified himself as the woman’s son to the doctors. Sam also reveals that he had placed a virus in the code while sending the money over to Jack, which made Jack unknowingly donate all the money to the Save the Children foundation. Sam has also managed to cleverly save three million dollars for themselves, with some of which Gypsy buys a new car after she gets healthy, and the two drive into the distance at the end of the film. They are aware, as they earlier discussed casually, that they would still have to run some more from Jack, but are willing to do it together as they have now found comfort in each other’s company.
9 Bullets is a 2022 Drama Thriller film written and directed by Gigi Gaston.