26 June 2011

Movies: Wild Target

Wild Target (2010) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1235189/

British crime and dark comedy film with a wee bit o'action.  Victor is an assassin from a proud family heritage of assassins, so much so he's the best paid in the killing-for-hire business. Rose, a thief of sorts, commissioned a copy of a Rembrandt, then pulled a slick on-site switcheroo to sell it to a private collector. After discovering the fake the collector wasn't too pleased and contracts Victor to take her out. While Victor follows her about, looking for his moment to kill her, something fascinating about her causes him to not follow through. He actually saves her life by stopping an attempt by the collector's henchmen. Along the way Victor collects young Tony and makes him an apprentice. The three of them go on the run trying to avoid the collector, his hired guns, and the second-best assassin chasing them down.

There's some action in the film: a little gunplay, a car chase. It's a dark comedy due to the multiple nonchalant killings, yet it is quirky, sometimes whimsical, and almost but not quite farcical. Then again, maybe it is farcical to the British comedy sensibility?

The always good Bill Nighy plays Victor, you might recall him as Shaun's step-dad in Shaun of the Dead or Viktor in Underworld, or from any number of other films. Emily Blunt plays Rose. I knew I'd seen her a few times but couldn't recall where, probably from The Wolfman, Sunshine Cleaning or The Great Buck Howard. Rupert Grint,  Ron Weasley of the Harry Potter films, plays Tony.  The primary and supporting cast all do well.  Grint does a great job in his non-Ron role. Good to see him expanding his repertoire.

It's a funny story, the plot pretty much goes where you would suppose it goes. The characters aren't very deep as people, but for this film they really don't need to be. Victor is the upper-middle-aged always in control with mother issues sort, Rose fills the role of the sexy and flighty young thief and potential love interest for the 30-years-too-old-for-her Victor. She almost qualifies as a MPDG. Tony is the directionless stoner type that gets half-dragged along as Victor's apprentice, which ties him in as a surrogate to Victor's relationship with his mother and her desire that he pass along the skills of the family business.  Some of the character actions aren't always logical or explainable from the little we do know of the characters, but happen because that is what the story demands. But that's okay in this sort of film.

I queued this film after I watched the trailer, got its whiff of story line and saw who the cast was (especially Nighy).  I liked the film, it was funny. Even though it's a Brit-humor comedy it has its American-friendly bits as well. It's not a thinking film, just a well-filmed smartly amusing and entertaining distraction for an hour and a half.  It's a charming and refreshing break from the glut of recycled and unimaginative comedy fare coming out of Hollywood of late.

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