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What was the deal with the gun Tommy and his ex-girlfriend were using on each other that didn’t seem to hurt them? Just a toy gun?

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  • Poor aim, perhaps?
    – Spencer
    Commented Mar 14, 2021 at 21:28
  • Shooting blanks. capsib.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/…
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 14, 2021 at 21:28
  • 2
    The audio commentary draws attention to the couple's need for sex toys to get aroused after months of drunken debauchery. The gun seems to fall into that category
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 14, 2021 at 22:09
  • @Valorum Fair enough. I would accept it as an answer.
    – Hack-R
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 1:58

1 Answer 1

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This is addressed in the Director's Audio commentary. Nick Roeg refers to the gun as a 'tool for eroticism' in relation to Tommy and Mary-Lou's drunken, dysfunctional debauchment. I think we can also spot the symbology behind the fact that it's shooting blanks without the need for additional help.

Roeg: It's the weirdest thing. It's only when they're older that they resort to other tools for eroticism. Yeah, they're getting into it. It's a game. This scene doesn't offend young people because they're like "Is that what they need? They need this to get off on?". They're jaded.

You might want to note that this is likely a call-back to the original source novel. One of Tommy's first patents was for a smokeless cap-gun roll that made loud bang, just like a real bullet being fired.

A maid brought them tea, while they chatted for a few minutes—Newton had learned to like tea, although he had to drink it lukewarm—and then they began to talk about business; their status in the courts, the arranging and rearranging of directorships, holding companies, grants and licenses and royalties, the financing of new plants, the purchase of old ones, the markets, prices, and the fluctuation of public interest in the seventy-three consumer articles they made—television antennas, transistors, photographic film, and radiation detectors—and the three hundred-odd patents they leased out, from the oil refining process to a harmless substitute for gunpowder that was used in children’s toys.

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