Tue 17 Nov 2015
KILLSHOT. Weinstein Co., 2008. Mickey Rourke, Thomas Jane, Diane Lane, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson. Based on the novel by Elmore Leonard. Director: John Madden.
I won’t go into the problems this movie had in being made. If you’re interested, you can read about them on the Internet. I will point out that the movie was “finished” in January 2006, according to IMDb, but not released until 2008, and then it was essentially Direct-to-DVD, with only a tiny theatrical opening as a trial run, which must have flopped.
I also won’t (or can’t) compare it to Elmore Leonard’s novel, because, well, I haven’t read it. I think he’s a good writer, but his plots — mostly about hinky things going wrong when lowlife criminals think they’re masterminds — generally don’t interest me, and the characters, including innocent bystanders (more or less) who get caught up in the plots, even less. Usually. There are exceptions.
As far as I’ve been able to tell, this movie follows the book all the way through. Except for maybe the ending. I haven’t read any reviews of the book that describe the ending, which in the movie is rather lame, as happy endings in crime films usually are.
Mickey Rourke plays the main character, a stoic but quite competent hit man for hire named Armand Degas, nicknamed ‘Blackbird’ because of his Native American background and heritage. What makes him a success at what he does is that he always makes sure there are no witnesses. In Killshot, though, he hooks up with a psychopathic looney named Richie Nix (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is totally off-the-wall and prone to both braggadocio and catastrophic error in close to equal proportion.
In any case, here they mess up on one of their ventures and are seen by a married couple (Diane Lane and Thomas Jane), who, even though they are on the verge of divorcing, are forced to go into a witness protection as a married couple.
There is a lot of plot involved in this movie, and even so, it leaves out the part about the federal marshal who stalks Mrs Colson once they’re ensconced in their new town and identities. Maybe this little sidebar could have been worked in. The movie is only 90 minutes long, plus or minus two or three. I think it flows fairly nicely, though, but with a story such as this, you really would think (as I think back about it) that there’d be a lot more suspense in it than there is.
One surprise comes before the end, however, and I obviously can’t tell you about it, but one does wonder why the particular event I’m talking about took as long to happen as it did.
I think it’s better than the ending, too, but following the rule that all reviewers must follow, I can’t tell you about that, either. See the little bit about it I said above, however.