Action Comedy '2 Guns' to Open Locarno Film Festival

"2 Guns" will open the Locarno Film Festival on August 7

The thriller, from Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur, stars Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg and Paula Patton.

ROME – 2 Guns, the action comedy that will represent a return to his roots for Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur, will open the 66th Locarno Film Festival, organizers announced Monday.

The film, which stars Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, and Paula Patton, tells the story of two undercover agents set up by the mob to investigate each other. It will be the first appearance in Locarno for the 47-year-old Kormakur since 2000 when his debut film, 101 Reykjavik, premiered at the festival in competition.

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2 Guns is scheduled to open in the U.S. on Aug. 2, five days before its Locarno premiere, which will serve as the film's European launch, ahead of openings in Kormakur’s native Iceland and other territories.

Festival officials also announced that Pascal Plisson’s documentary On the Way to School will close the festival on Aug. 17. The film chronicles the struggles of four children in different parts of the world as they seek a formal education.

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Both films will screen in Locarno’s famous 8,000-seat Piazza Grande, Europe’s largest film venue.

The festival has previously announced that its main retrospective this year would focus on My Fair Lady director George Cukor and that the festival would honor Georgian filmmaker Otar Iosseliani, German director Werner Herzog and Italian actor Sergio Castellitto with achievement honors. But the announcement of the opening and closing films are the clearest signal yet of the flavor that the storied Locarno festival will have under first-year artistic director Carlo Chatrian.

“The opening and closing films on the Piazza Grande ideally embrace the diversity of the offering that enables the Locarno audience to experience the world as the cinema it represents,” Chatrian said.

The Piazza Grade selections are eligible for Locano’s Prix du Public, voted on by moviegoers. The prize is worth $32,100 (30,000 Swiss francs).

The full lineup for the festival, which runs Aug. 7-17, will be announced on July 17.

Twitter: @EricJLyman