The Hit (1984)
Directed By: Stephen Frears
Written By: Peter Prince
Why I Saw It: Sarah’s Pick
My Verdict: Not a favorite but definitely worth seeing. With the talent in this cast, how could it be a total miss? 😉
Ex-gangster Willie Parker (Terence Stamp) turned on his partners in crime in court and fled to Spain. Ten years later, two hitmen — Braddock (John Hurt) and Myron (Tim Roth) — show up to kidnap him. They head for Paris, picking up a hostage (Laura del Sol) along the way; they plan to execute Willie when they arrive. This launches one of the oddest road trip movies ever.
Despite the premise, this isn’t exactly an action movie. It is more about this odd collection of characters and the shifting dynamics among them. Willie projects an air of philosophical calm and fearlessness in the face of death that makes us wonder whether he has a brilliant plan up his sleeve. Braddock appears cold and controlled, but he vacillates over committing murders. Young Myron, sporting the slightly vacuous, unbalanced grin that worked so brilliantly for Roth in Made in Britain, is volatile and unpredictable. As the two hit men struggle with their ineptitude, Willie manipulates his captors with articulate finesse. This film keeps us wondering who will come out on top.
This is not an adrenaline-driven flick, and it doesn’t quite work as a mystery or thriller. Some scenes serve no purpose in advancing the plot, and the twists are of the subtle psychological variety. On the other hand, it’s an enjoyable and often funny drama and an interesting character study. It’s well worth checking out, especially if you’d like to see Hurt, Roth, and Stamp in their younger days.