The Hit (1984)

Genres - Adventure, Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Crime Drama, Psychological Drama  |   Release Date - Sep 12, 1984 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United Kingdom   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Brian J. Dillard

This relatively early feature effort from Stephen Frears set the tone for his justly celebrated The Grifters six years later, but it also stands on its own as an acute psychological mood piece. Despite its mid-sized cast and its variety of settings, from British courtrooms to the Spanish countryside, The Hit summons up a claustrophobic intensity from the tension-fraught interaction of four key players on a road trip to hell. From John Hurt's rumpled, tight-lipped hit man and Terence Stamp's cockily zen informant to the fresh-faced but ferocious Tim Roth and the nervy, vivacious Laura del Sol, each of the principals contributes top-notch work. The result is an efficient case study in the playing of mind games -- one where sun-bleached stillness and sudden violence share an equal capacity to fray the nerves of both audience and characters. The economical script, by future Waterland scribe Peter Prince, certainly made the director's job easier. But considering that the film was released a mere year before My Beautiful Laundrette, a very different sort of effort from Frears, The Hit offers further proof that the British director is a jack of all trades and master of many.