UK, 2010: Wild Target
Genre: Action, Comedy
Bill Nighy stars as a stuffy assassin who becomes won over by his intended target, a pretty con artist wanted dead for stealing from a rich art collector.
Definitely a candidate for the most overlooked film this season, Wild Target is a quirky and charming piece on love and murder from across the pond. The very subdued British sense of humor makes the entire movie, understated and drier than a day in the desert. It keeps pace with a great contemporary soundtrack, adding an upbeat and colorful tone to what might otherwise be dramatic circumstances. The editing is sharp and the photography makes great use of the London streets. There are a couple questionable camera moments, but they arenít terribly significant and pass by quickly. As a whole, the film is wrapped together very well with solid production values in every aspect.
The script is enjoyably awkward, and the actors really milk those uncomfortable moments of silence for all theyíre worth. Nighy completely steals the show as his character struggles to reign in the two much younger co-stars, but Emily Blunt and Rupert Grint deliver solid performances as well. Everyone is suitably eccentric in their own ways, but they all manage to demonstrate depth of emotion. There are moments that feel melodramatic compared to the rest of the movie, but it hardly distracts from the greater picture. On the other hand, similar to Bruce Willisí RED released earlier this year, the romance between the young Blunt and much older Nighy is a little difficult to swallow, especially when they allude to Nighy being able to pass as her father. The original French version Cible Emouvante used a love interest much closer in age to the lead character, which begs the question of why the adaptation chose to revise that aspect of the story. Still, that issue aside, this version is still very enjoyable for its smart writing and fantastic performance by the cast.
As far as action films go, director Jonathan Lynn didnít really go all out for this project. Most of the excitement comes in with a couple of good car chases and small shoot outs. Donít expect the American blockbuster style of guns blazing and bullets flying all over the screen; it seems like Lynn wasnít interested in breaking the bank for an adrenaline-pumping climactic fight scene. However, like the rest of the movie, even while the action was understated, the energy level manages to impress. Fans of American action flics will definitely not be interested in the style of cinema Wild Target presents, but thatís completely understandable. Conversely, if you enjoy the dry style of British humor, this is definitely the movie for you.
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