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Genres are CrimeThrillerDr Produced in 1984, UK
Available Quality: DivX, iPod
Rating: 7.1 out of 10 (2759 votes)
|Jim Broadbent||John Hurt||Ralph Brown||Terence Stamp|
|Fernando Rey||Tim Roth||Bill Hunter|
Ex-gangster Willie Parker has betrayed his former colleagues and now lives in Spain where he thinks he can hide from their vengeance. But one day, ten years later, two hitmen (Braddock and Myron) show up and kidnap Willie. They are ordered to escort him back to Paris where he should stand trial. But it is a long way to Paris...
14 June 2013
Empty Feeling at the End
Although this film starts out well, it did have an empty feeling at theend. The premise is an English gangster who squealed on his mates andgets asylum in Spain. Eventually these gangsters get others to trackhim down. These others kidnap him and want to take him to Paris wherethe original gangsters will even the score with him. So it turns into aroad movie as they trek across Spain. They also abduct a beautifulsenorita on the way (I was never quite clear why they did this Â but itwas good eye candy).So the plot is reasonably clear and there is some characterinteraction. But somehow it's all a little artificial and none of thecharacters are very likable. There is very little humour in this movie.I felt like I had an empty deck of cards at the films' conclusion. Plus why were the victims driven across Spain to be killed Â why wasn'tit just done right away Â and whatever happened to going to Paris?
14 June 2013
Very smart thriller
When a filmmaker has three tremendously talented actors converge in a story that makes their characters' emotions overlap in a potent mix of bitterness, resignation, impulsive anger, sympathy, and mordant humor--and does so via whip-smart dialogue--you know you're in for a real cinematic treat.So it is with The Hit, a sharp thriller from Stephen Frears who went on to make Dangerous Liaisons as well as, unfortunately, The Grifters. Tim Roth (one of his first roles), John Hurt, and Terence Stamp all contribute knockout performances in roles that match their personas perfectly--Roth as Myron, the cocky, quick tempered young thug whose boss, Braddock (John Hurt), embodies the cynicism that intelligent criminals feel after being in the life for a number of years. And Terence Stamp is Willie Parker, the rat, another British gangster who squealed on his mates ten years earlier and has been hiding out in sunny Spain all the while.Enter Braddock and Myron to nab him and bring him to vengeful justice at the hands of Mr. Corrigan, the gangster boss. To do so, they'll drive Parker through Spain and into France--Paris, in particular, where Corrigan has now set up shop. But complications arise along the way, not least of which is a stopover in Madrid where the gangsters pick up a beautiful, earthy hostage played by Laura Del Sol, a fiery young woman who knows men well. Very well.With a great score by Paco de Lucia, one of Spain's premier guitarists, and cinematography rhapsodizing the glories of the Spanish countryside, this is truly a unique film. The journey of these four by car on the dusty roads of Spain brings to the fore their need, in various ways, to understand where they are and what they're doing. Does Parker actually look forward to his death? Does Braddock know what he wants to do? Or is he unsure?The seesawing emotional conflicts that emerge give this film a tense subtle power obviously missing in far too many films today. Made in 1984, it's a great piece of cinema that is now happily available on DVD. Highly recommended.
09 June 2013
Glad To Hear This Film Getting Its Due
I'm glad to hear this is coming out on a good, widescreen Criterion transfer, giving this fine film its due. Having a DVD previously released on formatted-to-TV was a disgrace!I thought this film contained real characters exhibiting many of their strengths and weaknesses. Unlike most gangster films of the past 35 years, this one had little action and concentrated more on the principal characters. Thus, I believe this is a picture more for mature adults who don't mind a slower pace and can appreciate a lot of subtle things. Two other quick notes: (1) I enjoyed the nice Spanish scenery and flamenco soundtrack. Also, there is a good opening instrumental by Eric Clapton(2) ****Spoiler****Why hit man John Hurt did NOT kill Laura Del Sol. In real life, there would have been no hesitation by the professional killer : she would have been eliminated quickly.....and, of course, the story - had it been real - would have ended quite differently from the film.
09 June 2013
This movie relates the story of an English gangster who turns on his partners and sells them out and moves to Spain. Ten years later men come looking for him and the movie relates the three days when he is kidnapped and pleading for his life while on a rollicking ride around Spain. The cast is essentially four people and the movie is made up of brilliant dialouge, John Hurt and Terence Stamp are brilliant. Director Stephen Frears has created a masterpiece.Seth J. Frantzman
05 June 2013
Five for the Film
I saw this film when it came out, and was immensely impressed. I particularly remember Stamp's reading of "Death, thou shalt die", by Donne, which I thought was the most superb rendition of that great sonnet; and the gangsters singing "We'll meet again" at the beginning. However, I have been warned by the reviews of the dvd disc, and will not be shelling out 50 bucks for what sounds like a dismally poor transfer of a memorable work. Let's hope someone takes notice, does a proper job, and enables me to catch up with what I remember as a stunning flick.
05 June 2013
Criterion release comng soon.
Save your money on this sub-par pan and scan release from Artisan. Criterion is scheduled to release this film on April 28, 2009, SRP $29.95. Without seeing their release, I know it will be a hundred times better than this release. Details of the release include:New, restored high definition digital transfer.Commentary featuring director Stephen Frears and actors John Hurt and Tim Roth.A 1988 television interview with actor Terrence Stamp.Original theatrical trailer.
28 May 2013
Just a moment
I finally caught this surprisingly obscure film last night afterwanting to see it for many years. It proved to be worth the wait, agripping little film featuring a marvellous central character in WillieParker (Terence Stamp). Stamp was excellent as the chilled-out victimof kidnapping and potentially murder, who is much less afraid than theincompetent hit men sent to exact revenge. The only disappointment forme was the ending, I felt the switch of emphasis to John Hurt'scharacter in the final minutes was a mistake as I was hoping that Stampwould get the better of the villains or at least get to face MrCorrigan before getting plugged. Still, a good movie and one whichdeserves to be better known.
27 May 2013
One of the dumbest movies Ive seen
This film holds 7.0 rating on IMDb, so even I sensed something rottenin it's synopsis I decided to try it out. What a waste of 100 minutes.First of all, the 80's were not a good decade for crime and thrillergenre. Most of these, in those days were badly done with silly plot (ifthey had any), so there are very few that can stand out, and even ifthey were good they are still not very good. The Hit, however suffersfrom everything that made silly crime pictures silly. It has poorcharacter development, improbable plot and wasn't written or directedin a decent manner, and when you have such shortcomings the actingdoesn't help. Stephen Frears often tried to emulate French new wave inEnglish style film making and the two don't match.Let's start at the beginning. Terence Stamp is 10 years in hidingbecause he testified against some of his former partners in crime. Hehides in Spain, of all places. He is finally caught up with, and thanfirst kidnapped by a group of silly looking Spanish thugs, just do bedriven away some distance to the two hit man that are supposed to dealwith him. These two are John Hurt, who is supposed to be hard boiled,stone cold killer, and Tim Roth (in his first role) as the devil'sapprentice. They don't kill Stamp right away, they first dispose of the"three Amigos", they shouldn't have hired in the first place, and then,they are driving Stamp to Paris, because one of the buddies hetestified against wants to confront him. OK that's possible. But evenwith Stamp being such a dangerous figure that they had to hire fourguys to overpower him, they don't tie him down, don't incapacitate himin any way, and drive around with him, like he's one of the buddies.Stamp doesn't object and is happily going to Paris to be shot, notusing any of a half a dozen chances, these "professionals" offer forhim to escape. Than it appears that Tim Roth is just a school boybully, making the idea of big crime boss teaming him up with a hardcore hit man like John Hurt, even more improbable, especially on animportant job like that. But than John Hurt is not so hard corehimself, he spends twenty minutes of the movie, killing or not killingthe totally surplus Australian, played by Bill Hunter, whose onlypurpose in this film is to introduce the lovely Laura Del Sol, hismistress (who he says is 15, but she looks more like 25), and whoserole in the story and acting capabilities suggest that she was offeredthe part, solely on the basis of being the director's or producer'smistress at the time. After much deliberation, Hurt kills theAustralian but takes along his mistress for no apparent reason. Than hewants to kill her but Roth with his "subtle ways" convince him not to,so even she kicks him, bites him and scratches him through the entiremovie, he stays true to that deeply buried human side of him.Than you have plain idiotic scenes, like when Hurt and Roth lock thecar from the outside, trying to prevent the people inside from gettingout?!?! Anyway the movie drags on. Tim Roth falls asleep, guardingTerence Stamp with his gun on his chest, and Stamp just waits therewatching the waterfall. Than the whole shamble of a plot comes to thepoint where everything we've seen in the last hour and 20 minutes justgoes out through the window. Let's recapitulate, the whole point in notkilling Stamp right away (except for having a movie) is to take him toParis, so his former partner is to have a last word with him. And thewhole point in him not running away is that he is prepared to die,saying "It's just a moment. We're here. Then we're not here. We'resomewhere else... maybe. And it's as natural as breathing. Why shouldwe be scared?" But my friends, here is where the plot twists, Hurtkills the man while still in Spain, and we ask why bother and drivearound for days, he could have done it in the first 15 minutes, andthan contrary to his philosophy Stamp is very afraid of being killed,so we ask again why didn't he run, and he had plenty chance. Roth getskilled too, but he shouldn't be in the movie at all, and Del Sol, wellshe's promised a role in this film purely for romantic (read sexual)reasons, so she stays alive again, even she attacked Hurt for the 15thtime in the movie. He killed all the others, but not her, she must havemaximum screen appearance. The movie was made on a shoe string budgetand it shows, but when you have no story and card boardcharacterizations, it shows even more.And yes Fernando Ray appears andgoes through the movie as the guest star, having a single audible lineof dialog. Awful
12 April 2013
Whos in charge here anyway?
Two hit men go to Spain and pick up a fellow crook who went into hidingyears before. They are suppose to drive him back to Paris, however asthey hit the road, it quickly becomes clear that things are not whatthey seem and that the hit men are in for more than they ever bargainedfor.Tightly plotted and neat little thriller that works thanks to its threestars. Terrence Stamp kicked his career into high gear once more withhis turn as the man hauled off for execution. So calm in the face ofdeath its almost unnerving and its not hard to see how he can begin toplay his captors like a violin. John Hurt and Tim Roth are his equal asthe two hit men who never saw what they were walking into. This isensemble acting at its finest.This is a great little film. Its worth seeking out.
12 April 2013
Death is as natural as breathing. Why should we be scared?
After reading all the reviews stating how awful the dvd quality of "The Hit" was, I decided to buy the vhs. This is easily one of the most original mob movies ever made, with an outstanding cast and awesome music by Paco De Lucia. Years ahead of its time in terms of style and violence, I can see how a brilliant film like this would influence directors like Quentin Tarantino. The movie begins in London, 1973, where veteran criminal Willie Parker (Terence Stamp) betrays his friends in exchange for immunity from the court. Ten years later, in Spain, Parker is abducted from his peaceful village by a group of amateurs, who "sell" him to hitman Mr. Braddock (John Hurt) and his rookie assistant (Tim Roth). Braddock and his assistant have been hired by Parker's former "partners-in-crime" to kill Parker, but the more they talk to Parker, the more puzzled they are. Parker is a totally willing victim who doesn't even try to escape from them, and throughout the movie he has several opportunities. Braddock and his assistant also take a beautiful woman (Laura del Sol) hostage, not realizing the consequences this will have on their original "assignment". After getting to know Parker, Mr. Braddock and his assistant begin to have doubts about killing him, but the violent confrontation at the end shows that some characters were hiding their true feelings about the bleak situation.Terence Stamp and John Hurt were awesome, as was Tim Roth in his impressive film debut. What sets this apart from other mob movies is that this film focuses on the inner conflict that rages inside hitmen when they discover that their "target" is actually a likable person. It also takes an interesting view on death itself. A film this brilliant certainly deserves a Criterion Collection dvd release, but until then I recommend the vhs version.
26 March 2013
very underrated British gangster movie
From the menacing twang of Eric Claptons' guitar introduction we aretakento the back streets of South London where Supergrass Willie Parker(TerenceStamp)spills the beans on his former gang members involvement in armedrobberies. From a comic book scene in court the story goes 10 yearsaheadwhen Willie is living under protection in Spain, he has changedcharacter,more interested in his books than his former life of crime. However theGangleader he sent down has been released and sends a hitman, Braddick (JohnHurt)and his young novice accomplice Myron(Tim Roth) to kidnap Willie andbring him France. Things go wrong with the slaying of a police guard andthey are chased across Spain by the Spanish police. Along the way therearea series of other mishaps another kidnapping of a young Spanish girl(LauraDel Sol)and more killings. The ending has a strange twist. Thephotographyand direction is excellent, with some memorable scenes, one where Maggiebites a chunk out of Mr Braddick's hand and an unaware Myron asksBraddickif he wants something to eat, to which he replies yes but not her "she'salready eaten" This is a strange movie and resembles some French gangstermovies where the emphasis is on the characters and there changingattitudesas they begin to question the morality of what they are doing. Itdeserveswatching more than once and is in my top 10 of best British Gangstermovies.
25 March 2013
Three brilliant actors have the time of their film lives.
Imagine dark, claustrophobic films noirs 'The Killers' and 'The Third Man', shot in the bright desert spaces of sunny Spain. Terence Stamp is a gangster-turned-grass who has spent ten years hiding in a quiet Spanish village, methodically educating himself. One day he is kidnapped by a gang of juvenile delinquents working for two hitmen, ominously taciturn John Hurt and his volatile young protege Tim Roth. So begins a bizarre road movie in which all the usual film noir rules are tragicomically tweaked.'The Hit' resembles 'The Killers' in the story of two assassins baffled by the calm resignation of their target (this is the opening situation of the film; I am not revealing anything). Stamp is a comic joy, relaxed, amused and watchful, completely unnerving two thugs who had expected a gibbering coward. 'The Hit' has been called an Absurdist thriller, with Stamp as an existential Everyman; the silent police are perhaps the implacable agents of Fate rendering futile human endeavour. But this is to miss the 'Third Man' element, the great gusts of comedy that deflates the 'philosophy': the jaunty jangle of Spanish guitar; the delicious interplay between amazing actors, whose mixture of menace and ordinary blokishness anticipates Tarantino; the giddy shifts in tone; Frears' taste for mischievous, distorted, wide-angled compositions. The opening court-room scene, when the convicted prisoners jeer a murderous 'We'll Meet Again' at a startled Stamp, is worth the movie alone. There are even Graham Greene-like allusions to 'Don Quixote' and Spanish picaresque which gives a certain nobility to the Hurt character, a vicious gangster who subtly becomes the film's true hero, embodiment of its more enigmatic moments, such as the extraordinary misty-glade sequence, coming upon a man who should have run away, communing with a mystical realm to which he has no access. This is not to suggest the film is a spoof - the violence when it comes is distressingly real; but it is in this hybrid tension of modes and genres that Frears' best work has always been done, and 'The Hit' is a little classic.
17 March 2013
The great lost Brit crime movie?
Forget the flashy but empty "cor blimey guv" Brit crime movies of the lastfew years like 'Snatch' and 'Sexy Beast'. Apart from 'Croupier' and'Gangster No. 1', most of them aren't worthy of being mentioned in the samebreath as the brilliant but largely forgotten 'The Long Good Friday', 'MonaLisa', and the most underrated of all, 'The Hit'. Terence Stamp, playing acharacter not too dissimilar from the one he later portrays in 'The Limey',is a former gangster who grassed up his criminal mates years earlier. Nowliving in semi-retirement in Spain he is unexpectedly kidnapped by two hoods(John Hurt and, in one of his earliest screen roles, Tim Roth) who plan ontaking him to Paris and killing him as punishment for betraying the criminalcode. Of course, things don't go quite as planned and along the way the sexyLaura del Sol gets forced against her will to accompany them. This is a veryfresh and interesting film that is more character than action based so mightnot appeal to the Guy Ritchie crowd. It's their loss. Stamp is justbrilliant and his interaction with Hurt and Roth makes this a must seemovie. The supporting cast also includes the legendary Fernando Rey ('TheFrench Connection') as the cop on their trail, and Aussie veteran BillHunter as a crim in the wrong place at the wrong time. 'The Hit' is one ofthe most overlooked British movies of the last twenty years, and highlyrecommend viewing for all discerning movie buffs.
17 March 2013
i only heard about this film when i saw it on someones list of bestfilms,thought it was really good willies a bastard from the beginningtrying to play head games and turn them against each other but thegirls more dangerous shes just as manipulative and sly was kind ofhoping that the ending would be willie being taken to Paris and facinghis former mates that he betrayed would have been nice if we could havefound out more about his past crimes and find out how he was found inthe first place a truly underrated British film it reminds me a bit ofcohen and tate a old film from 1990 where two hit man snatch someoneand have to take a road trip and survive the mind games ...........thehit is a really good film
09 February 2013
Stamp, Hurt, Roth and Frears make this a memorable movie
Stephen Frears' forgotten movie (it sank without a trace when it was released) has recently, thanks to Criterion, now received some of the recognition and love it deserves.Willie Parker (Terence Stamp), a career crook, ratted out his mates. In exchange for testifying against them in court he received a new identity and a comfortable retirement in a village in Spain. Still, he knew his former comrades would sooner or later come after him. Ten years later, they do.Braddock (John Hurt), an emotionless, professional hitman, and his young, excitable apprentice, Myron (Tim Roth), take Willie and set out to drive to Paris and the gang leader he betrayed. A Spanish police officer (Fernando Rey) is after them. Willie seems to accept his fate, but he begins to plant questions in the minds of Braddock and, especially, Myron. Violent incidents happen. It seems likely Willie isn't going to make it alive to the French border. In Madrid they wind up having to take with them Maggie, the girl friend of a fat Aussie crook. Soon Braddock and Maggie are fighting, with Myron trying to protect Maggie. Now Willie seems to have accepted his fate with a serenity that worries Braddock. But it seems that Willie's serenity depends on Braddock. The conclusion to this fine film may be a tad confusing (even the actors aren't sure in the commentary). With a movie this good, all that means is there'll be good conversation after watching it.The acting is exceptional. One accepts that with Stamp, Hurt and Roth. In The Hit, even the smallest roles are pungent. Laura del Sol as Maggie is vivid and Bill Hunter as the aging Aussie who pays her bills is funny, unpleasant and pitiable.
09 February 2013
Underseen but very good
The Bottom Line:Though the ending seems a little too pat (why would John Hurt's character do something so stupid?) the rest of The Hit is a wonderful three-character play with a trio of Britain's best actors at the top of their game; a film that pays exquisite attention to character and is all the better for it, The Hit deserves to be seen.3/4
24 January 2013
a truly unusual, satisfying crime-cum-road movie
The Hit is a movie that is hard to forget, but if you do you'll behappy to remember it. It's the kind of movie that had I seen it in the1980's, I would still think back fondly to a moment or two, to thestrange sense of inner peace that Terence Stamp's character WillieParker has on this 'road trip' to his death by the hands of gangsters,or the way that John Hurt's Braddock wears his sunglasses, or how thechipper Spanish music accentuates scenes with an unusual flavor. We mayhave seen movies where a criminal, who went 'rat' on his formercriminal buddies, is discovered years later to finally meet hiscomeuppance, but it's hard to think of another quite like this, onethat is directed with such an eye for photographic beauty in theSpanish villas and mountains and deserts, or with the dark comedy ofthe performances.It's ostensibly just about that, two criminals (Hurt and Tim Roth)taking a guy like Willie Parker back to meet his maker for what he did.But there's more to the tale: they stop off at another mate's flat inMadrid and they take his girl (Laura Del Sol), an innocent, ascollateral when they get across the border, and from there it's aboutwhat Braddock will or won't do, what Roth's Myron as the young,energetic upstart who could possibly stop Braddock from his path ofdestruction, and how a weary detective (Fernando Rey, who has not aline of dialog) follows along the trail of violence and bloodshed. It'sabout this without ever having to push the dialog in explanation toomuch: only in the last third, when we hear Willie's reasons for beingso... comfortable with his position as a kidnapped wanted man, that thescreenplay stops to add words.It's fairly dramatic and contemplative on what it is to be a criminal,how to be as you are with a gun pointed at someone or committingviolence or acting all like a bad-ass. There's this conflict we seeespecially between the three characters of Willie, Myron and Braddock,where one is just along for the ride, with some gallows humor so tospeak ("I'll just get back in the car then?), one is just fine gettinghis thousand dollars for his first ever job, but will stop his superiorif need be, and the other is quiet and calm, like a refugee from a JimJarmusch crime film (coincidentally to the Stranger from Limits ofControl Hurt was also in that mystery movie), but is professional to adegree. Frears lets the actors open up the material as he opens up thescope and environments they inhabit: it's not about the standard plot,but about what the characters are about.I may have made The Hit to sound ponderous or pretentious, but itreally isn't. It's a very entertaining and surprising ride we take,where conventions are eschewed for that feeling of anything-is-possibleon the road. There's some laughs, there's some thrills, and an endingthat is not predictable despite it following a formula going all theway back to 1940's film noir. It's an underrated gem from British crimelore that should be seen by anyone on the lookout for somethingdifferent from the genre, or for something unexpected from the actors(Roth's being his screen debut).
23 January 2013
A Brit Grit Elegy
It was a bizarre crossbreed, London crime drama and Spanish roadpicture, maybe condemned by its displacement and disdain for genreconvention. Hardly any critics at the time grasped the film'sintermingling of the hip and the high-minded. Today's critics,comparatively at least, would welcome it in the company of itsoffspring, like Gangster No. 1, Sexy Beast and In Bruges, and theAmerican counterparts contributed by the Coens and Tarantino. A fewfilms have mythologized British underworld since Michael Caine's glorydays. The Hit challenged it in unique ways, reconnecting its roguesinto a different legendary backdrop, that of the western, as Braddockand Myron transport Willie along the roads that twist through Spain'sparched landscape.The ostensible hero of The Hit is Willie Parker, who, in the beginning,rats out four of his mob mates. Flash-forward a decade, and hisunperturbed life in southern Spain terminates with the appearance ofunderworld executioner Braddock and his rookie associate Myron. Theyseize Willie and travel towards Paris, where he'll be handed over tothe boss of the men he informed on. The film opens with a bristly EricClapton solo, signaling a foreshadowing slow-mo shot of a man in anoff-white suit sauntering up a hilltop. Paco de LucÃa's flamencosoundtrack turns on the dismay throughout. The man, Braddock, faces theawesome vista, but does he see it? This ill-omened image sponges from alater scene when Braddock must make a life-or-death choice. Its returntosses a circle around the tale, bringing the characters to the stagewhere they must face mortality.The personal dialogue exchanges that bear the rapport between Willieand his dispatchers are interspersed with Braddock and Myron'seruptions of flamboyant viciousness, which bequeath footprints for thepolice, headed by a dismayed detective played by the excellent FernandoRey. Braddock's murders are the undertakings of a man demoralized byWillie's sublime calmness. For predator and prey are seemingly upturnedin this very humanistic gangster film. Willie incessantly reframingBraddock and Myron's mindsets, as when he interprets Braddock's failureto kill Maggie, the doe-eyed Spanish beauty they've snatched from theMadrid apartment where she stayed with the fearful Australian goonHarry. "It's supposed to be quick, clean work," Willie prods Myron asBraddock crouches on a swathe of badlands. "It was a mistake," Myronrationalizes. "Yeah, but he's not meant to have accidents. Perhaps he'sslipping." Willie further condescends them when explaining in epichistorical terms to Myron why Spain has so many castles. But in gibingBraddock and Myron, who fade in contrast with Charlemagne's renownedbrothers in arms, Willie encourages Myron to ask him why he turnedstooge. By smoothly replying that he couldn't confront prison again ordecline the prosecutors' deal, he remembers the two-faced Willie seenin court, and checks the pity we may have for him as a Zen desperadowho's reconciled himself.If Gal in Sexy Beast is incapable of communicating his existentialdilemma, Willie's a philosopher cut from a different cloth than thestandard East End thug. Willie's sophistication is despised by othersof his sort, and probably also by those who anticipate a moretraditional crime film. In a safe house before his court appearance,one of his guards snatches his book. One of the Spanish punks whohijack Willie for Braddock wields a knife at his Escher print.Frears shuns car chases, gunfights, and sex for obscuring the customaryfunctions of captive and captor, lyricizing a story that evolves inimmorality, and concentrating on a protagonist who irrevocablydisappoints us. In stage-managing the doctrines of the gangster film,the western, the road movie and even film noir, Frears probes theirauthenticity. And although this narrative amalgam is awash withconfrontation, it inhabits the inner life instead of the outside.Willie's and Braddock's wits work overtime, and their unseen battle ismore gripping than the periodic murders and the police hunt. Thiselevates The Hit into a transcendental domain where gunfire has norange.The story's generational divide aids a reconciliation toward thefinale. Braddock loses control when he sees Myron catnapping on watchduty, but he finds Willie observing a waterfall. Willie stands facingaway from Braddock, who trains his gun, but is too intimidated tosqueeze the trigger. The haunted picture of Willie set against the wallof mist hints at the inescapable death of Christ. That night, they talkintimately in the woods, where Braddock doubts Willie's audacity."We're here," Willie says, "then we're not here. We're somewhere else.It's as natural as breathing. Why should we be scared?" Earlier, Williepuzzles Myron with another speech justifying death as harmless. Allthis would look like obvious laboriousness, premeditated to put hiscaptors off guard, were it not for Stamp's skillfully hazy performance.The last of Willie's words and movements that we see in the movie arestaggering in what they tell about him. Regardless, it's not hishonesty we distrust, but his deceit, as his arousal of sympathy inBraddock culminates in a sort of liberation for both.
21 January 2013
Brooding tale, cinematically wonderful
This is an amazing film. Tim Roth appears in his pre-reservior dogs career as a cocky, immature, over confident apprentice, understudy to John Hurt's brooding, cold and professional hitman. The pro is not keen on having Roth's character along for the ride, so there's an exploration of the dynamic between the young turk and the old pro here. The object of their employment is played by Stamp, and I seem to remember that this movie represented his return to film acting after a long break. He is totally on form in this movie, playing the runaway con who's been looking over his shoulder since his escape from his homeland.The film was shot on location in Spain and a lot of the location shots are wonderful, a combination of beauty and brooding threat. There's a couple of plot twists to keep you on your toes, and solid ending to the movie.I saw this at the Odeon Haymarket in London during it's cinematic release and though video does not do it justice, it's a great story and one of my top 10 movies of all time.
21 January 2013
A great cast make this one a winner!
This review is from: The Hit (DVD) This is one of my favorite "unknown" classics from the 1980's, and one of the few 80's films that managed to cling to the gritty, purposeful aesthetics of the great action films of the 1970's. The plot is simple: A couple of hit men are driving a mob informer to his place of execution. During the trip, tensions arise. What makes this film a beauty, beyond Stephen Frears exuberant, coming-into-his-own direction, is the brilliant casting. John Hurt is a lean, grizzled grim reaper behind a pair of shades. Every word he speaks radiates pure death, and his flat gaze marks whoever it falls upon. Hurt, who has tremendous range as an actor, slips into the role of the killer "Mr. Braddock" with a still, icy ease. I have enjoyed Hurt's work for a long time, and I really think he is one of the best character actors in the world. Tim Roth plays Braddock's young sidekick with a combination of cockney attitude and simmering venom. This was Roth's first movie role, and it is all the more remarkable for that reason. Roth is another remarkable craftsman, able to simply dwell in a roll. In an interesting bit of trivia, Hurt and Roth would team up again a decade later in the excellent historical drama, Rob Roy, playing characters in the same kind of deadly symbiotic relationship. These two actors play off one another with expert ease, one the older master (Hurt) and the other the barely controlled apprentice (Roth). The last piece of the acting puzzle is Terrance Stamp, who has had about as strong a mid to late career as an actor could hope for. He has aged very well, his features hardening into lean stone, much like Clint Eastwood. Stamp plays the mob informer that is going to be hit, and through some amazing acting he is able to portray a kind of transcendental peace that is truly moving. The format for this DVD edition is, to say the least, a disappointment. The viewing public seems to be far more educated these days than studios and DVD packagers seem to realize. All buyers really want is the widescreen edition anymore and are willing to pay more for it. Hasn't that become obvious? Regardless of the poor production of this DVD, this is still a film worth having and I still recommend it. -Mykal Banta