Wednesday, 10 June 2015

No.124 : The Hit


The Hit at the IMDb

This 1984 dark comedy drama directed by Stephen Frears had passed me by, but it’s well worth checking out not least for its stellar cast and sunny locations.

The film opens with Willy Parker (Terence Stamp) being bundled from a grotty flat and into a waiting car. We learn that he’s a London villain who has turned grass against his former colleagues. Once he has finished his testimony the court descends into chaos as a chorus of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ rises up. It transpires that despite saying to barrister Jim Broadbent that he has had no inducements to give evidence Willy has accepted a cushy package from the cops which allows his a comfortable life in Spain…Until now.

It’s not clear how Willy’s remote bolt hole is discovered after 10 years, but after a small fight he’s bagged and delivered to two hit men by four Spanish youths who get a briefcase of TNT for their trouble.

The hit men, played by Tim Roth and John Hurt, tell Willy that he has an appointment in Paris with the gangland boss he grassed up. Willy appears to be at peace with his fate, but he knows that a lot can change over a 700 mile drive.

Hurt’s hit man, Braddock, is cool and lethal and says little whilst Roth’s, Myron, is more excitable and chatty. He’s been brought along on his first job and Willy starts to sow seeds of dissent that start to fester between the two killers. Various mishaps cause them to alter their plans, including a detour to Madrid that sees them pick up sexy Spaniard, Maggie.

Their adventures across country keep feeding the police enough information to keep them hot on their trail and as the net closes it’s clear that not everyone will survive the journey.

This was an enjoyable film that kept me guessing and entertained throughout. Stamp is great, playing his cheeky Cockney persona to perfection. Despite his chequered past you do root for him throughout and his mind games with the bad guys worked well. Hurt is less believable as the stone killer hit man. I think he’s too slightly built to convey much menace and looks like you could blow him over most of the time. A bleached blonde Roth is OK as the trainee assassin but I wasn't convinced about his character’s arc.

The settings and direction were good and the filmed moved at a faster pace than the lethargic hit men. The ending was somewhat nihilistic but given what had gone before it was certainly earned.

THE Tag Line - Hits the Mark!

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