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The Hit Criterion Blu-ray Review

“The Hit” is a Stephen Frears gem.

In this gritty 1984 British crime drama, the story revolves around a gangster (Willie) who rats out his boss and colleagues in court. The plot jumps ahead 10 years where we find Willie hiding out in Spain. Naturally, his past has come back to haunt him as he has been abducted by 2 hitmen- the older, quiet, experienced Mr. Braddock and the young inexperienced hothead Myron. The 2 are transporting him via car to the crime boss in Paris. While Willie seems in surprisingly good spirits considering he is about to face death, the journey to Paris is fraught with unexpected turns and complications (including another passenger/captive Maggie) and a couple of dead bodies. On top of that, the police are hot in their trail. 

Directed by Stephen Frears and written by Peter Prince, “The Hit” could have very easily been a typical hitman/crime drama, but it’s not at all. In fact, it’s a rather tense existential character piece/road movie about life, death, mercy, mistakes, and retribution. Over the course of this perilous road trip, Frears and Prince really focus on who these characters are, the choices they make, and the very human actions they do. It unfolds in a fascinating way and doesn’t end how you think it would (which is rare).

Although there are a few supporting characters, the bulk of the film is made up of the performances by John Hurt, Terrence Stamp, Tim Roth and Laura Del Sol. Terrence Stamp has perhaps the most intriguing arc here as a man who has accepted his fate while the late great Terrence Stamp steals the show as the conflicted hitman. Tim Roth shines here in a very, very early role for him while Laura del Sol superbly plays an innocent woman who is in the wrong place at the wrong time.


Presentation: 1.78:1 1080p. How does it look? This 2K digital transfer maintains the grit and grain of the original print while also providing a quality upgrade.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono. How does it look? From the memorable Eric Clapton opening title music to the dialogue, this Mono track delivers.

* “The Hit” trailer
* A booklet featuring an essay by writer Graham Fuller and credits.
* “Parkinson One-To-One: Terrence Stamp”- A 1988 interview between talk show host Michael Parkinson and Terrence Stamp.
* A 2009 commentary by director Stephen Frears, John Hurt, Tim Roth, writer Peter Prince and editor Mick Audsley

October 21, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Some great scenes here, the one where the bar gets trashed for one…

    Comment by tensecondsfromnow | October 22, 2020 | Reply

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