The Hit

the hit

The Hit
Release Date: June 1984
Director: Stephen Frears 
Rating: 18
Recorded Picture Company, Zenith Productions, Central Productions, Palace Pictures 

You know the score by now; try to escape from the gangster life and you’ll end up dragged back in kicking and screaming. Sometimes for further service, sometimes to receive a bullet to the head. For Willie Parker (Terence Stump) it’s the latter. At least he seems cheery about it all. That’s something. 

After screwing over his fellow gangster buddies in court, Willie Parker spends the next ten years enjoying life. But it isn’t long before these crooks seek out Willie for a spot of revenge, and so after a rather corny slapstick struggle, Willie ends up in a car on the way to Paris to meet the ones he did wrong. It’s a wacky road trip movie involving murder and characters learning to accept death. Did I say wacky?

the hit

The film has numerous humorous elements thanks to the charming Willie, the brattish Myron (Tim Roth) and the straight man Braddock (John Hurt), but it also paints unsettling images thanks to the striking gore used at key points to bring home the fact that this is serious business , and the long drawn out moments of ambience display the feelings the characters just don’t want to admit. It shows how screwed up having to off someone can be, and how annoying it can be to make a mistake when choosing who to take and who to kill. Braddock forces a woman they stumble across to tag along, and she creates much nuisance than anything else. It’s never fun to put up with screeching characters, and she hangs round for most of the journey.

The Hit is a film which lapses thanks to hammy action scenes and annoyances from the struggling girl who needn’t have been part of the plot. But it can push tension to  nail-biting levels and it provides emotion these gangster types try not to let on. If only they could forgive and forget.

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