The Hit

Written by Matteo Sedazzari
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When people talk about classic British gangster films, invariably they mention Get Carter or The Long Good Friday, yet other classic British gangster films

like Villain starring Richard Burton are frequently ignored. Moreover, The Hit (1984) directed by Stephen Frears, starring Terence Stamp, John Hurt, Tim Roth & Laura Del Sol is certainly a very much overlooked British gangster film. The film begins with Willie Parker (Terence Stamp) at the Old Bailey being cross-examined by Barrister (Jim Broadbent). Parker is happy to name names and shows no remorse in doing so, in fact, he shows quite a great deal of delight. Knowing full well, that turning supergrass usually ends with severe results; like murder.

Fast forward ten years and Parker is leading an idyllic life in sunny Spain. Free of his former life, yet the past has a nasty habit of catching up with you. And for Parker, this is certainly the case when two London gangsters Braddock (John Hurt) and Myron (Tim Roth) attack him in his Spanish home. The assault is not to seriously injure or kill him, but to subdue Parker, so the two gangsters can take him back to Paris to stand trial at a Kangaroo court, for breaking omerta (code of silence). Parker is no fool; he knows full well the only verdict will be guilty, and he will be executed. Therefore the journey from Spain to Paris is on a par with an inmate waiting on Death Row, but Parker won't go down without a fight.

The Hit Terrence Stamp john hurt 1

So begins a sinister-style road movie, with the sun-drenched parched countryside of Spain looking and feeling barren and lonely, enough to break any man. Yet Parker, being overtly confident, is prepared to play mind games with his kidnappers like Braddock, an old school villain, dressed in a designer suit and donning Ray Ban dark glasses, with an element of campiness and evil.

It is clear Braddock relishes his power and loves to inflict pain, he is heartless and cruel. Whilst Myron, (an early film appearance of Roth) is a new recruit to the underworld and this is his first assignment. Dressed in the terrace fashion of the early eighties, he has perhaps made the graduation from a football firm, cocky, arrogant, and violent yet naïve. Parker sees him as the weakest link and plays on that. However, Myron is no pushover, as en route he turns over a roadside bar with the owner and a handful of its patrons, after being mocked for his walk. In addition, like a true Brit aboard, he makes sure he leaves the watering hole with a few take-away beers.

The film is certainly brightened by the introduction of the voluptuous Mediterranean brunette; Maggie (Laura Del Sol) kidnapped after a pit stop to a friend's apartment, Harry, who in turn is killed after Braddock and Myron fear he may turn informer after Parker's abduction has made national news.

/the hit stephen frears terence stamp john hurt tim roth laura del sol matteo sedazzari zani 3.j

Throughout the film, a strange bond does emerge between the three central characters, with the two gangsters starting to question their own existence, thanks to Parker's poker face and ability to break down mental walls. Therefore The Hit is much more than a "didn't you kill my brother" British gangster film, it is a study of men, their loyalty, actions, and the consequences, worthy viewing.

Read 2124 times Last modified on Tuesday, 20 April 2021 13:32
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Matteo Sedazzari

Matteo Sedazzari

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