April 12, 2007

"The Hit" Is Coming

Image Entertainment announced yesterday their acquisition of Bernardo Bertolucci's Best Picture winning The Last Emperor, Nicolas Roeg's Insignificance, Nagisa Oshima's Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, and Stephen Frears' The Hit. Image has a distribution deal with the great Criterion Collection, so we can probably expect that some of these titles, most likely The Last Emperor, will get the sparkling Criterion treatment. Of the four films however, I'd like to take this opportunity to single out the one I am looking forward to the most...

is Frears' overlooked 1984 gem of a crime film. The plot concerns two hitmen sent to Spain to retrieve and escort a gangster back to Paris, where he awaits a traitors death. I've only seen The Hit once before, a couple of years ago (on the atrocious, and now out-of-print, panned-and-scanned DVD from Artisan Entertainment), but I remember it being an incredible cocktail of violence, comedy and existentialism, and certain scenes have stuck with me. It's is like Waiting for Godot with guns. John Hurt, Terrence Stamp, and Tim Roth, as the three leads, all give great performances. And if that cast isn't reason enough to see the film, the Spanish countryside is captured beautifully by cinematographer Mike Molloy. Hopefully, Image will see fit to release the film in its original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, so that we can finally view this film as was intended. Keep this film in mind, and when the DVD comes out, give it a spin.

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