24) The Hit (1984) Dir: Stephen Frears Date Released: March 1985 Date Seen: January 23, 2010 Rating: 4/5
Being trapped on a long one-way trip to certain doom with a deviously serene Terence Stamp, a stoic John Hurt, a snot-nosed Tim Roth and a busty, bitey Spanish prostitute would have been on its own a uniquely unnerving experience. But The Hit has burrowed underneath my skin not because of where it intends to go but where it ends up. I'm haunted by the disorienting but meticulously blocked explosions of white and its treacherously straight-forward trajectory to a unexpectedly abrupt dead end. The salient black-and-white color patterns in the characters' wardrobes alone will have me busy trying to tease out new, enlightening ironic meaning from the characters' respective life philosophies now that I know what happens--how it ends with a whimper, a cold sweat, a guitar and several bangs. What appears to be a movie that endorses Stamp's "let yourself go" worldview is in fact a a Beckett-esque noir where there is literally no exit in sight. Bleak as sin and laughing all the way. It's amazing that I ended my birthday eve festivities on this blackest of notes. The clock struck midnight on my 23rd birthday as the end credits rolled. Wotta world.
Note: I'm especially struck by the overhead shot of Hurt struggling with the prostitute after she makes her big escape attempt. It's too close to be truly distant from the action but too far away to see the characters as anything but oversized ants. It's as if it's filmed from the ledge of a nearby building, halfway between the white of the sky and the dirt of the ground.