Interview With A Hitman Blu-ray Review
I’ve always been fascinated by hitmen. They are mysterious people motivated by money and morally immune to what they are doing. Two of my favorite albums of all time were concept albums about hitmen. I also liked shows like The Sopranos and Alias that prominently featured hitmen. George Clooney recently did a fascinating movie about a hitman who wants to get out. THE DAY OF THE JACKAL was one of the best thrillers made in the last 40 years. So obviously Hollywood and the music industry have had a long love affair with these nefarious figures. INTERVIEW WITH A HITMAN was right up my alley. This was not a perfect film, but it actually does adequately explain how a person drifts into this line of work.
Director/Screenwriter Perry Bhandal has a nice feel for the medium in his debut. The opening ten minutes are practically Kubrickian. Bhandal uses no dialogue with pulsating music heightening the tension. He first shows a young boy holding a gun to a young girl. He looks at her with steely determination and cocks the trigger. The scene cuts away before we know the end result. Bhandal then takes us along to a journey of two men. One is an older man who drives out to the middle of nowhere and puts a bag over his head. It is all very clandestine. The other guy is younger and bald. He strides through the airport with a purpose. He then prepares a gun and his outfit with utter precision and control. The first words are uttered by a man just before the bald assassin kills him.
The bald man turns out to be Viktor (a well cast Luke Goss), the title character in these proceedings. He is being interviewed by the older guy, Xavier (Patrick Lyster). Hitmen can’t be too careful, so the bag was for precautionary reasons.
Viktor goes back to his childhood and tells us how it all began. It is true what they say. Violence begets violence. Viktor is a young lad in Bucharest trying to make his way. He has trouble with some bullies who he borrowed money from. His father is even more trouble for owing money to the wrong people. Viktor witnesses his father get beat around by Sergei (Danny Midwinter). Later on Viktor’s father puts a beating on his mother, while Viktor absorbs the screaming and hitting from his bedroom. It would be safe to assume this is a common occurrence in this household. An upbringing like this would make anyone susceptible to the wrong side of the tracks. It’s the circle of life. If your father lives a good life, you are more apt to follow in his footsteps. If he is a wicked man, then you are prone to those ways. This is human nature at its finest and worst.
Viktor eventually starts working for Sergei at a young age as an enforcer. We go back to the first scene in the film to see what happened to the young girl facing the barrel of a gun. Viktor had just confronted her father for not paying. This has to be one of the more intense scenes I’ve seen in a while. I won’t ruin what happens, but it does affect Viktor for the rest of his life. The knowing nod by one of the older local hoods is a chilling reminder that not all people are good. Sergei teaches him all the tricks of the trades. He shows him how to use surveillance to spy on people and how to approach a target without them knowing it. This is the school of hard knocks and Viktor becomes an ace student.
Bhandal shows a deft touch with the fight scenes. It is like ballet with fists. The choreography is well thought out. Bhandal also hit it out of the park with his casting of Luke Goss. Goss just has the look of a hitman. He’s got the piercing blue eyes, wiry body, hard glare and authoritative voice. It truly is what I would picture a hitman to look like. Make no mistake about it, but Goss carries the film when it gets a bit too confusing.
The action moves to England after a betrayal happens. Viktor starts working for another guy who has what you would call loose morals. It is here Viktor falls in love with the enchanting Bethesda (Caroline Tillette). She makes him more human and questions his line of work. The love story is a welcome diversion from the bullets and mayhem, but it never is fully developed. You are not committed to seeing Bethesda and Viktor live happily ever after.
The biggest problem I had with Interview with a Hitman is the amount of the characters. There’s too many. The film is only an hour and a half long, but it crams all these characters from different time periods and different locations. I had to rewind several times just to recall several of them that reappear on the screen. Is this guy from Viktor’s childhood? Was he a friend or foe? How did this person play a part in the past? Those are the many questions that would dance in my head until I got a headache trying to sort things out. Many people complain when a movie is too long, but this one was too short. We needed more time with these people so we could easily pick them out after proper development.
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed Interview with a Hitman. The fight scenes are exciting. Luke Goss gives a standout performance. The visuals and music is top notch for a low budget product. I just wish I could have made more sense of it all. But nothing is perfect in this world and I can live with that in this case.
Video: Nice transfer for a low budget film. It nicely captures the brutal realism of this life.
Audio: I had lots of trouble hearing the dialogue throughout. Closed captioning is a must.
Making of Interview with a Hitman (14:43): Decent feature about the film. All the key players talk about the product and how it was made. There is an interesting take on one of best fight scenes.