The Hit Reviews
The premise is initially simple and relies on well-established genre elements, but the movie quickly becomes its own creature. Terence Stamp plays an English mobster who, ten years prior to the main events of the film, ratted out his associated in exchange for legal immunity. We find him living peacefully in Spain, until two hitmen show up to kidnap him and take him to Paris to meet with one of the men he betrayed before executing him. There are some complications in this plan, and I liked the way the movie logically and realistically followed through on things that happen.
Stamp is extremely good as the kidnapped mobster, who seems to accept his impending death with equanimity. He's very calm and philosophical about it, so much so that it begins to irritate the two hitmen, who want him to be more worried. John Hurt is fantastic in a role very different from the sort of raspy old rapscallion I usually think of him as. Here he plays an ice-cold killer who says very little and hides his thoughts behind a pair of sunglasses, but gradually turns out to have more layers to him than you might think. I've always liked John Hurt, but this film shows a seriously great side of him I didn't know he had. A very young Tim Roth makes a nice contrast with Hurt as the younger hitman, who's impulsive and goofy but a bit more kind-hearted than the older man. Roth was only about 23 when he made this movie, but he was already a very talented and appealing actor. Laura del Sol is also good as a somewhat mysterious young woman who gets mixed up in the whole business.
Although the plot might make it sound like a thriller, the movie is actually quite matter-of-fact in its approach. It's not at all sensationalistic, and Peter Prince's script takes time to develop the characters and their situation realistically. It's interesting how early sequences in the movie get a lot done with almost no dialogue. There's a lot of philosophizing about death, and while none of it is especially profound, it is interesting to hear movie characters talking about it. The movie is kind of like Waiting for Godot, except with three main characters, two of whom are supposed to kill the other. There is a kind of grim, unforced humor to a lot of what happens here. Stephen Frears's direction is very good and manages to be visually creative without being flashy or unrealistic. In all, this is a well-paced, extremely well-acted, mildly philosophical little film that I wish more people knew about.
it's just a moment, we're here and we're not here....
quote (humorous): (singing) we'll meet again, don't know
where, don't know when.....
reminiscent of, and not equal to, antonioni's the passenger.....landscapes,
dust, long distance shots...but more talky, with a bit of humour thrown in.