Dec 3, 2023
It is almost inevitable when discussing America, and American issues, to discuss guns. Particularly amongst non-Americans, and those in the United Kingdom, where firearms are banned, it is something widely condemned and seen as a great blight against America and the American image. Yet, the right to bear arms is something ingrained within the American constitution, and something supported by millions of citizens despite innumerable mass shootings - already over 600 this year alone in the United States. ‘T2: NY1’ explores this issue in an incredibly intriguing manner, one which, though perhaps leaves a little too much open for interpretation, is nevertheless incredibly thought-provoking.
Written and directed by Alexander Ratter, this short film depicts a fish out of his water, as a Texas cowboy - complete with boots, hat and the whole works - strolls down the streets of New York City. As he walks down the streets of the Big Apple he is confronted by visceral abuse from passers-by, who shout in his face, gesticulate wildly at him, and one of whom even spits at him. He continues his path forwards down the street, with the only sound being a sharp ringing in his ears - he is deaf, and unaware of the substance of the words and abuse being hurled his way.
The message and meaning of ‘T2: NY1’ could be explored endlessly, with numerous possible ways in which its story could be interpreted - all of which point towards a fierce anti-gun stance. The idea of a cowboy - a man from another time and place in which the second amendment was more widely believed in, even if cowboys were seen as lawless individuals - in the pits of a big city - a staple of modernity - could reflect the idea that the right to bear arms is an archaic policy, ill fitting with the modern world and values, and as such when gun violence occurs in these metropolises such as New York City, it is an instrument of primitivity and violence from a less developed time.
Alternatively, the Texas cowboy’s deafness could be interpreted as his inability to see the reasoning behind calls for greater gun control in America, and as such he is deaf to the suffering which gun violence causes people across the country, with the abuse he faces instead families of victims expressing their anger at his failure to see the pain that they are going through. Perhaps also, the film could be suggesting at people’s perception of Texas cowboy’s - particularly in cities such as New York - as gun totting self-proclaimed vigilantes whose idea of their rights involves being able to use a firearm as self-defence to a far more minor threat. These are all possible interpretations of ‘T2: NY1’, and there are undoubtedly many more, which makes the film all the more fascinating.
Alexander Ratter directs the film expertly, and one swing of the camera is done with incredible finesse and talent, whilst his screenplay expertly gets the point of the story across, so that, whilst he maybe leaves a little bit too much unsaid, it is nonetheless sure to start conversations as people bring their different views on the films meaning to the table. ‘T2: NY1’ is an expertly crafted short film, one full of intrigue surrounding a pressing issue.
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