I always struggle the most with the movies I like the most. And I really liked this one. The Hit is a slow-burning British crime movie that’s so immersive and compelling you won’t be able to take your eyes off it. We will be following Willie Parker, a former gang member, who after snitching finds himself in sunny Spain. The setting is incredibly important, as the magical landscapes create a surreal and above all immersive atmosphere. Opposite of that beauty we have the ugly world of crime and the people who inhabit it. Criminals who are ruthless but still complex human beings, just like the rest of us.
This concept of stark differences clashing together is the main theme. We have a veteran hitman and a young and brash hitman working together. The man they’re looking for used to be a criminal but he’s not anymore. The people they interact with along the way are ordinary people, just going about their days and so forth. And while the major events and twists are very realistic, some scenes do feel a bit contrived. However, as soon as you think that, the movie will win your heart all over again with the next scene. And considering these are just a couple of scenes, you’ll forget all about them by the time the credits roll.
Right from the opening scene, the movie grips you and transports you to its world. The pacing is deliberate and a bit slower but never dull or boring. And with a running time of just ninety minutes, The Hit is also a very digestible crime movie you can play any time. It offers not only a compelling story but also explores the concept of death in the most unusual way. It cleverly uses the juicy criminal underworld to meditate on its meaning without offering any concrete answers. Everything feels like it’s in the air, hot Spanish air. And it’s that atmosphere that makes me keep coming back to it.
Escapism at its finest, especially from this time distance. After almost forty years, The Hit is still an incredibly powerful and engaging movie. It offers an almost voyeuristic look into the crime world of the eighties. Starting with the cars, continuing with the clothes, and ending with the general vibe of things, if you’re looking for that perfect eighties nostalgia movie, you’ve just found it. As we’re following these four characters, the world around them goes on as usual, emphasizing their insignificance. It even absorbs their vicious impact on it, with the overwhelming grinding of the wheel of time.
Willie Parker was the driver for the infamous London crime gang and he’s about to testify against them in exchange for his freedom. He’s about to commit a crime in the crime world and become a snitch. In an attempt to escape the consequences of his actions, he moves to a quiet village in Spain. And it would appear that he made it as no comes after him. However, those he put in jail have a long time to plan their revenge.
I don’t think they’ve could’ve picked a better cast for this movie. The Hit stars Terence Stamp, John Hurt, Tim Roth, and stunningly beautiful Laura del Sol. I was completely enthralled with her performance here, let alone her looks. She was the perfect counterbalance to the ugly mugs of our three leads. And we also should not forget about Bill Hunter who made the most of his screen time as Harry. As they make their way across the country, the long of the law will be slowly closing in on them. It offers yet another perspective on events that are happening. The dialogue is excellent and there are all these little details you start noticing in subsequent viewings.
Finally, if you’re looking for movies like The Hit, I recommend you start with Sexy Beast. It features a rather similar story only updated to today’s standards. While we’re on the subject of British crime movies taking place in Spain, I must also mention The Business. Then you can move on to another one of my favorites, probably the best noir movie I have ever seen Night Moves. One False Move, a road crime movie starring Bill Paxton is also a good choice along with No Country For Old Men. However, I guarantee you will also keep coming back to the poetic The Hit, one of my favorite movies.
Director: Stephen Frears
Writer: Peter Prince
Cast: Terence Stamp, John Hurt, Tim Roth, Laura del Sol, Bill Hunter, Jim Broadbent
Fun Facts: The car the hitmen are driving is a 1964 Mercedes-Benz 220 S.