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...
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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?
Mr Corrigan would have done better to hire a no-nonsense cleaner,someone like Leon, or Lee Marvin. Although, maybe not. There wouldhardly have been a story if the job had been efficiently executed.There's no doubt, however, that this is a reflection on The Killers,1964. Hell, there's even a shot of Stamp's reading matter, whichincludes a tome by Hemingway, although I couldn't quite make out if itwas "Men Without Women", which would have clinched the allusion. Or wasit "Death in the Afternoon" ?The real point is that both tales are about the man who does not feardeath, because he is already dead. We know why Johnny North is alreadydead. But why is Terence? Is it because he has chosen to live acomfortable, but unproductive and solitary, apparently celibate life,with only a tyro minder looking after him? He spends his time readingbooks: anyone who does that to excess gets to thinking about life'smeaning, and pondering on death, and what it is like to die. Shootingthrough, Blue, as the stockman put it.Terence reckons he has solved the riddle. Others have felt the sameway. John Donne, for instance. That, Terence, is truly the right way torecite a poem. I salute you. JC noted that it was strange that menshould fear, seeing that "death, a necessary end, will come when itwill come". Bill put those words in his mouth, at any rate.The message gets to Hurt. He seems rather troubled, worn and weary.Stamp's attitude seems to be bothering him. What is the point ofkilling people ? They're going to die anyway. What exactly is gained bywhacking Terence? In the end Hurt accepts, and that wink is a winner.There's another resemblance to The Killers, 64, and that's the slightlydumb, and definitely annoying, trainee. Pain in the neck. He exits thescenery as simple collateral damage.What a terrific film this is ! Beautifully written, shot and acted ! Ireally liked that shot down the staircase, as the kidnappers break intoStamp's hideaway. The film is full of those lovely bits and pieces.Especially the pulchritudinous senorita, who is definitely not ready togo. I wasn't sure if she was inside or outside her first dress.I've also been looking at IMDb's top 250 list, and just don't get it.Only about 30% of those titles are any good at all. Brilliant work likethis isn't on it. 7/10 is an intellectual disgrace. 10/10, and more,from me.
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.
John Hurt is the star here, a polished professional hit man without emotions . . . until things start to come apart. Saddled with a smartass punk assistant, Hurt is assigned to hit a stool pidgeon who turns out to be amateur philosopher, facing death with equanamity. As the job goes from bad to worse, turning into a kind of road trip from hell, Hurt resigns himself to a sort of passivity, accepting situations that madden him, relinquishing control of himself in a state of detachment that is troubling to see. You almost want him to kill all these people and regain his deportment, rather than accept one insult after another to his dignity as a professional.Hurt is perfect in the role, and the supporting cast make up an excellent ensemble, of sorts. The hero is doomed of course, but the journey to the end is well worth the trip. Outstanding.
The Hit is one of those movies that is not so well known. As far as Iknow it is still not available on DVD or VHS, which is a shame becauseit's a really good film, the kind of film that you can show to friendsand still each time enjoy it. (I taped my copy from Swedish TV.) It's aroad movie, the action of which takes place in Spain. The maincharacters though are English: Terence Stamp as an ex-criminal hidingout on witness protection because he grassed up his mates and John Hurtas the hit-man sent to get him. Tim Roth plays the hit-man's assistant.I won't give away what happens but there are some great scenes andlines in the film. All the actors play excellently. Hugely recommended!
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
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.
There's a cork that holds the movie in place. A cork that readsexistential crime thriller, oscillating with some conviction in thedusty scorched space between the road movie and the modern western, notbetween alternate extremes but with a steady uninterrupted rhythmflipping the same coin again and again; one time it gives us theclaustrophobic but humdrum and worn-out dynamics and shiftingrelationships between kidnappers and kidnapped confined in a car on aroad trip through the Spanish countryside to someone's death, tailsgive us brooding silences and Paco de Lucia's deguello guitarserenading over vast open expanses of arid landscape, they give ussunsets over open horizons and rents of dust kicked up in a dirt road.John Hurt's Mr. Braddock is the enigmatic hit-man of few words and noidentity, Tim Roth is his overexcited grimacing sidekick, and TerenceStamp is the calm fatalist resigned to the idea of dying escorted bythem to a death in Paris. He plays the middle against the end inordinary for this type of setup cat and mouse games. Death and how weface him is Stephen Frears' main theme though. The transformations thecharacters undergo in the face of it speak louder than Terence Stamp'sabstract diversions: how we're there one moment, gone the next, andwhat's the difference, why should we be afraid? Only the woman (thevoluptuous and sexy Laura del Sol) is strong enough to survive, becauseshe's the one who's really afraid to die, motivated to fight for lifebecause she's not ready to give up yet. This reminds me of the Fatherin Cormac McCarthy's The Road: how he has learned to wake himself upfrom idle beautiful dreams because they lull the mind, because they'rea sign of the mind giving up on the real world. It can be a very uglyplace the real world and it's only natural to be afraid, at least youknow you're still alive.Despite whatever existential meat and bones there is, the movie ismostly a mood piece though and it's captivating as such. But take thecork out and it starts to disintegrate back to the parts it was madeof, back to seedy gas stations in the middle of nowhere, open aridlandscapes, and orange suns blazing down on patches of empty asphalt,sand and dust kicked up to muddle the boundaries separating it from allthe other movies of the same kind, a little above and below and acrossthe Mexican border, so that they become engulfed back into that curioussifting mass made up of lonesome structures with the paint peeling offunder the hot sun and beat-up cars driving up empty roads across emptylandscapes that you can pinpoint to a general type of film rather thanany particular movie. Back into that antediluvian genre memory of theexistential modern western from which now and again a movie by WalterHill or Sam Peckinpah or the Coen Brothers will stand out to becounted. There's not enough to put The Hit on the same level as NoCountry for Old Men or Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia, but fans ofthat type of sombre contemplative gritnic cinema will dig it. It'sgood.
This review is from: The Hit (DVD) This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD edition of the film.The Hit is a film directed by Stephen Frears, stars Terrence Stamp, John Hurt, Tim Roth and Laura del Sol. In a supporting role as the police chief is Fernando Rey, best known for his role in The French Connection.The film is about a former gangster turned supergrass (British slang for an informer) Willie Parker, who tells all to the courts, and is sent to Spain to hide from the people he testified against. He is then located and captured by the gangsters and is being driven to France where he will be killed. The film has some philosophical elements too. Parker's character tells his captors that he does not fear death, as it is inevitable for everybody and just another step in a long journey.The film has some excellent flamenco music in the soundtrack and some other nice music in it also. The special features on the DVD are a 1988 interview with Terence Stamp, a theatrical trailer and audio commentary by director, Stephen Frears, actors John Hurt and Tim Roth, writer Peter Prince, and editor Mick Audsley.This is really a good film and has some great moments.
I can't believe that this film had gone for so long without me knowingit was around. I'm a big fan of the crime/drama genre so when Istumbled across the fact it was going to be on some free to air digitalchannel at about one in the morning a couple of months ago, I thoughtI'd give it ago. In fact, I'd never heard of it before nor have Isince. No one seems to know of it and it's a damn shame as this is aVERY underrated film, especially surprising given the fact John Hurt,Terrance Stamp and Tim Roth are in it.The film deals with human interaction between a 'grass' from ten yearsback, a rookie gangster and an old-time gangster in almost superiorform to many other films. The fact it takes a 'road movie' approachgives us more time to develop with the characters, as well as thecharacters themselves to do a bit of bonding. What follows is somefascinating dialogue between the three (and between a young Spanishgirl on a lesser extent) and some very interesting relations buildingup. The stone cold presence from Hurt, the silent but 'you know he's upto something' Stamp and the, almost, 'comic relief' character in theform of Tim Roth all combine in a truly mesmerising mixture of events.I was glued to the screen.The narrative also takes on a mysterious, almost multi-layered approachwhen talking about the police hot on their tail. The fact we never hearthe detectives talk or any of the police communicate leaves us with asense that we know what's going on but we're not actually there, almostas if the three male characters in the car are dreaming up the scenesthemselves as to what MIGHT be happening at their last point of call ifthe police had yet arrived.The action and dialogue is well spaced, even though the script is greatanyway, and you truly struggle to work out what might happen next. Thedisturbing way in which Stamp seems to say nothing at all yetcommunicates with Roth like he's known him for years twinned with thefact panic hits him like a train later on in the film and he suddenlybecomes a chatter box is an amazing juxtaposition which really adds tothe experience.Another attractive aspect of the film is the setting. This also acts asa juxtaposition as the beauty and heat that oozes from the screenreally counterbalances the disturbing reality that Hurt and Roth'scharacters are there to 'get' Stamp and make him pay for his previousactions as well as the sadistic interior that makes up Hurt'scharacter. You can't get too caught up in the setting which you onlyreally see when the journey is being killed off, and you know that withevery second that rushes by on the road; Stamp is apparently closer tohis death - clever stuff.The film is simple. The narrative is easy, there aren't too manycharacters to deal with, there aren't too many on screen distractions(unless you count the girl) meaning you have more reasons to focus onEXACTLY what's going on and although the film looks a little aged, Ican guarantee it's thoroughly enjoyable.
*************************WARNING WARNING CONTAINSSPOILERS**************************This film got talked about a lot when it was first released. Upfront itwould be wise to mention the main actors, Terence Stamp (WillieParker), John Hurt (Mr Braddock), and Tim Roth (Myron), simply becausethe three of them are exemplary and allowed to stretch in a characterdriven story which has been obviously well thought out and conceived.The characters are ostensibly criminals but 'The Hit' is more than justa 'crime film.'The opening scenes explain how the criminal Stamp has 'grassed' on hismates, and receives in return a villa in Spain for the term of hisnatural life. Zip! It's ten years later and Stamp is kidnapped by Hurt,an older and more experienced type and Roth, a young hot-head on hisfirst assignment. Forced to face the ire of his enemies in thesyndicate. Stamp is aware what his kidnappers are capable of, and whatthey will do to him sooner or later, as the 'sooner' extends from thebeginning of the film and we eventually are transported to the 'later'.This kind of set-up would be almost a clichÃ© in any other action filmbut 'The Hit' defies the rules of its genre by taking the viewer on acerebral journey that has little to do with body counts, botchedrobberies or crashing cars. 'The Hit' takes the audience by surprise byeasing up on the blood letting and instead engaging in a lot ofdialogue which reveals the kidnappee's desire not to be eliminated andhow he goes about prolonging what little time he may have left on theearth. This allows for a lot of philosophical discussion on the part ofthe kidnapped man, primarily concerning the meaning of life and death,in order to buy time for himself, and also to allow the audience toruminate about the meaning of life along with him.Stamp, as the kidnapped criminal, reaches a calm acceptance of hisfate, much to the chagrin of his assailants, who believe that if theywere in his position, they would certainly consider their predicamentdifferently. A Spanish woman (Laura del Sol) gets dragged along for theride as the three men play a game of cat and mouse in which theaudience is left in the dark as to why the assailants are not doingwhat they have actually been ordered to do. Terence Stamp gives anexcellent performance as the criminal in a tight spot, and is a goodfoil for John Hurt and Tim Roth as the kidnappers who are the Hawkesian'professionals' merely carrying out orders with no questions asked.They know what they are expected to do but are somewhat reluctant to doit and I believe this gives rise to the possibility of an existentialinterpretation of the film.. The characters exist in a state of perpetual hesitation: thekidnapped man has been living the last ten years as if his life hasbeen on hold with perpetual protection, no job, and an empty apartment;the kidnappers become involved with the man they are holding and beginto see him as a human being and hence find it difficult to carry outtheir orders; the Australian and his girlfriend are attempting to havea life but this can never come to pass because of their pastassociations.. All the characters exist in a fatalistic universe thatseems to have no time for them. Ironically, the only charactercomfortable in his own skin is Stamp, who, instead of using blazingguns to solve his dilemma, attempts to verbally connect with hisassailants by showing in a number of effecting scenes, how much hewants to carry on living . This is very interesting and involving stufffor an audience desiring something more substantial from theirentertainment. It's a good existential take on the usual modus operandiof these films which normally consist of little more than meaninglessaction and violence to get the punters to pay for admission. For that'The Hit' deserves to stand out from the crowd, for all the bestreasons, which thankfully, it does.
Synopsis: Criminal Willie Parker (Terence Stamp) testifies against his partners in a London courtroom in order to secure his own freedom. As his testimony ends the accused begin to sing "We'll meet again" as their threat to seek revenge for his incriminating testimony.The time and location now shifts and Willie has been relocated in a small rural town outside of Madrid, Spain. Unfortunately for Willie the passing of years has not erased the memory of his betrayal from the minds of his enemies. He is kidnapped by a professional killer none only as Mr. Braddock (John Hurt) and his assistant Myron (Tim Roth) to be escorted to Paris where he will have a brief reunion with "old friends" before he is to meet his inevitable fate. However the journey doesn't go as planned for the abductors. Another passenger joins the group, a beautiful, buxom young woman named Maggie (Laura del Sol). While Mr. Braddock likes to keep things uncomplicated he can't bring himself to kill the lovely Maggie. The clever Willie seizes on the opportunity and begins to use her presence to undermine the main goal of the kidnappers, attempting to turn one against the other as he plans his escape.Critique: Released in '85, `The Hit' is a satisfying psychological drama boasting three stellar performances from Terence Stamp, John Hurt and Tim Roth. This film presents a slow paced, nuanced, storyline that maybe a little difficult for some viewers to handle, but if you open yourself to the slower pace you will reap its rewards. Presented in an artsy, minimalist format, the film is cleverly counter balanced by a high energy Spanish flamenco soundtrack that does wonders for the atmosphere and texture of the viewing experience. There are a couple of negatives but they rest in the production values of the DVD not in the film itself. It is full-screen instead of widescreen which bothers a film purist like me. There are also a couple of minor but noticeable wobbles in the picture, but they are brief and won't really distract you. So give it a watch, you won't be sorry. Once you cast your eyes upon Laura del Sol you won't be able to pull yourself away from the screen whether you like the film or not.
Mr Corrigan would have done better to hire a no-nonsense cleaner,someone like Leon, or Lee Marvin. Although, maybe not. There wouldhardly have been a story if the job had been efficiently executed.There's no doubt, however, that this is a reflection on The Killers,1964. Hell, there's even a shot of Stamp's reading matter, whichincludes a tome by Hemingway, although I couldn't quite make out if itwas "Men Without Women", which would have clinched the allusion. Or wasit "Death in the Afternoon" ?The real point is that both tales are about the man who does not feardeath, because he is already dead. We know why Johnny North is alreadydead. But why is Terence? Is it because he has chosen to live acomfortable, but unproductive and solitary, apparently celibate life,with only a tyro minder looking after him? He spends his time readingbooks: anyone who does that to excess gets to thinking about life'smeaning, and pondering on death, and what it is like to die. Shootingthrough, Blue, as the stockman put it.Terence reckons he has solved the riddle. Others have felt the sameway. John Donne, for instance. That, Terence, is truly the right way torecite a poem. I salute you. JC noted that it was strange that menshould fear, seeing that "death, a necessary end, will come when itwill come". Bill put those words in his mouth, at any rate.The message gets to Hurt. He seems rather troubled, worn and weary.Stamp's attitude seems to be bothering him. What is the point ofkilling people ? They're going to die anyway. What exactly is gained bywhacking Terence? In the end Hurt accepts, and that wink is a winner.There's another resemblance to The Killers, 64, and that's the highlydumb, and definitely annoying, trainee. Pain in the neck. He exits thescenery as simple collateral damage.What a terrific film this is ! Beautifully written, shot and acted ! Ireally liked that shot down the staircase, as the kidnappers break intoStamp's hideaway. The film is full of those lovely bits and pieces.Especially the pulchritudinous senorita, who is definitely not ready togo. I wasn't sure if she was inside or outside her first dress.I've also been looking at IMDb's top 250 list, and just don't get it.Only about 30% of those titles are any good at all. Brilliant work likethis isn't on it. 7/10 is an intellectual disgrace. 10/10, and more,from me.
This fresh cinematic spin on the infamous "Hit Man" doesn't seem to be well known and that's a shame. 'The Hit' is very sly and cunning, stepping far astray from the usual efficiency associated with these individuals, and contains ingenious plot twists guaranteed to keep you guessing. Though it is British the film remains accessible to all moviegoers; the accents are easy to understand and the dialogue is not completely bound to British standards. A pair of hit men, Braddock, a wily veteran and Myron, a greenhorn, track down former gangster Willy Parker, who squealed on his former partners and has been hiding out in Spain for ten years. The hit men intend to take Willy to Paris to meet his former boss before he is summarily executed but an unexpected complication occurs that throws the plan into disarray. Attempting to alleviate the problem only causes it to snowball beyond belief and soon the two hit men are forced to take a hostage along the way. Willy's lackadaisical approach to his certain demise displeases his "escorts" who expect him to be quite fearful of his impending doom. The hostage is a bit of puzzlement as well and Myron takes it upon himself to look after her interests. As events continue unfolding causing more chaos it isn't long before Myron is questioning Braddock's control of the situation.To say anymore would be an unforgivable transgression; suffice it to say that 'The Hit' is a movie you won't regret having spent time watching. Besides being directed by Stephen Frears it also features Terence Stamp, John Hurt and Tim Roth - his film debut - in the three key roles. The screenplay allows for a few terrific action sequences, frequent suspense, laugh-out-loud humor and even some very memorable scenery in Spain. The theme music performed by Eric Clapton is among the best of his compositions and he gets an assist from Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame. 'The Hit' is a movie deserving of cult status for its many offbeat touches and unconventional manner of storytelling. Do yourself a real favor and set aside some time to watch this film - but beware! You'll find that once isn't enough!
I can't believe I'm discovering this little gem only now, about 20 yearslate! Shame on me. How comes...?Now this is the kind of stuff I like. Intelligent, brilliantly written anddirected, with mindblowing actors' performances by Tim Roth, John Hurt andTerence Stamp (gee I never realized before that Stamp was SUCH a talentedactor!! Shame on me again!), a real personality, an outstanding camera work,and multiple references to the cinema history... all this with just theright amount of dignity, not too much, just the right amount. And anoriginal and tasteful use of hispanic music, that is 100%adequate."The hit" is suspenseful, unpredictable, funny, challenging.Makes me wonder how many times Tarentino viewed it... he obviously viewed itseveral times, for sure.Great flick. I can't believe that there are only 395 votes for this movie onImdb, meaning that only a very selected group of people actually had theluck to come across this little diamond. Such a shame. I bet many Coen fanswould really love "The hit" if they only had the opportunity to viewit...
Willie: "It's just a moment. We're here. Then we're not here. We're somewhere else... maybe. And it's as natural as breathing. Why should we be scared?"Stephen Frears's The Hit is an odd film at first. The premise is simple enough; Willie, a gangster turned informer (played brilliantly by Terrence Stamp), goes into hiding in Spain after helping put away his boss and crew. Ten years later, his boss is out of prison and has sent two hit men to find, bring back and execute Willie. The film wasn't at all what I thought it might be based on the description, but it was a pleasant surprise. It's really less of a hardboiled gangster film and more of a road-trip film. Most of the time the characters are in the car discussing things and it's a treat to see Frears try something less conventional with the genre. The greatest compliment I can give the film is that it reminds me a great deal of Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal. It's trying to explore similar ideas about existence, its meaning, what our roles are and whether or not we even have free will. And it does it all without being preachy and with minimal dialogue.One of the odd things about the film was seeing Terence Stamp play a character that is aloof and childish as well as graceful and profound. I'm used to seeing him play the heavy more often like, in Superman I & II as well as the Limey. Here I got to see a performance I'd never thought possible and it served an interesting contrast to the hit men and some much appreciated levity for such a bleak story. It was also refreshing to see John Hurt as the stoic hit man charged with bringing Willie back. He's a great actor that I never tire of seeing and he did not disappoint. This is also the earliest role I've ever seen Tim Roth in. His character is both scary and funny--an apprentice that doesn't realize how over his head he is with this job. Laura del Sol rounds out the cast as an unfortunate hostage. While her role is limited, it serves as an important catalyst for some of the story's arcs. Really great performances all around.The other pleasant oddity about the film was how brightly and beautifully photographed it was. A good portion of the film takes place in remote areas of Spain and almost every frame is a work of beauty. Most of the exterior shots are low contrast without being washed out and slightly desaturated. It helps to emphasize how isolated the characters are and puts the audience right there with them.I can't recommend this film enough. I can see why Criterion chose to release it and I'm happy that they did.Last thing, the opening track by Eric Clapton and Roger Waters is one of the most bad-ass themes I've ever heard.
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
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.
A real shame that this picture doesn't hit the greatness level because thepotential is there. After 90 minutes I felt the film didn't move up anotherlevel.There's nothing here that you haven't seen before.The characters were really mixed, the script wasn't working for John Hurtnor Terence Stamp.The film isn't bad, it's watchable and there is some cool bits, but somehowit didn't elevate to greater heights.The acting is good, John Hurt doesn't really have enough todo.Terence Stamp never had the script and Tim Roth was average.The photography is nice, nothing special, though.The music is actually rather boring. Overall, the film had potential but a sub-standard script let itdown.
Ten years ago Willie Parker testified in court against some of hiscriminal buddies and ever since then, has been waiting for them tosettle the score while hiding out in Spain. Soon enough his trackeddown by two hit men, the slick professional Braddock and his raw rookieMyron. Who plan to take him back to Paris to meet up with those he donein, but on their trip there they stop off at a Madrid apartment thatincludes an unplanned kidnapping of a young Spanish girl, Maggie.Through the trip Parker's pondering manner starts getting on the pairs'nerves and the feisty Maggie makes matters even worse. Nothing is trulygoing to plan with these constant distractions and the Spanish policeare hot on their trail. I wasn't expecting to like "The Hit" as much as I did. But came awayreally enjoying and thinking highly of this oddity, after knowingnothing about it to begin with. It was neat blind purchase (well, itonly cost $2), which really did pay off. This colourfully kooky Britishcrime feature has a premise that likes play mind games by breezilybuilding upon the animated characters and random situations they findthemselves stuck in. It's about them finding their feet and coming toterms that death might be around the corner. Nothing to fear insomething you shouldn't be afraid off. Peter Prince's tautly fleshedout script has real sensitivity about it and goes down well with thesimple road trip storyline. While rather talkative, the dialogue drivenouting has a lyrically deeper underbelly, where personalities clashwith amusingly engaging and wittily sly results. Action is little, butit doesn't suffer from it and when it unfold, its intensely drawn up.Director Stephen Frears paints a poetically subdued feel to it withsuch freshly assured and suave direction. He truly sets up somebeautiful visions without losing any of that brutal edge when calledfor (the surprising climax takes the cake). Mick Molloy's fetchinglysublime photography-work incorporates the alluringly picturesquebackdrop of Spain with elegant scope. He even frames diverse sceneswith inspired shots that have you in awe. Eric Clapton plugs away forthe sweepingly airy opening title and Paco de Lucia stirringly upbeatSpanish flavour to the music score kicks up the energy levels andunpredictable vibe. The technical side of the production is prettytop-draw and sufficiently done. The performances are all marvellous incrafting out their characters and feeding off each other withbelievable chemistry. An outstandingly novel John Hurt plays theprofessionally cool, tough as nails hit-man Braddock with such coldvenom. Character actor Tim Roth (in his film debut) is brilliant in atotal opposite persona as a young clueless, hot-wired rookie Myrongetting a little too attached to their captivates. Terence Stampstands-out in his turn of the lively accepting Willie Parker, whothrows up some words of wisdom along the way and strangely becomesfixated with his closing destiny. Laura del Sol dashingly fine as thestrong willed Maggie who adds the sparks. Also showing up in short, butpotent roles is Aussie actor Bill Hunter and Fernando Rey playing anofficer closing on their tails. "The Hit" is a focused, well thought-out production that I believe tobe perfect across the board. Some people might find it to lead nowhere,but seductively enterprising is what comes to my mind.