BluRay/DVD Reviews

KILLSHOT

By • Jul 13th, 2009 •

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Remember when going to the movies was the cheapest way to spend an evening out? Now, depending on where you live, ticket prices can be as expensive as thirteen and change. Being from New York City, such is always my case.

Sure, that’s still less pricey than going to the theater, or even eating out at a restaurant for that matter. But let’s say you have a family of four. Two adult tickets for yourself and your significant other (thirteen each), plus two little ones (nine bucks a pop for children’s tickets), and of course they want a snack (six dollars each for a bag of popcorn, four dollars each for soda). In the end, you’re looking at about Eighty dollars. When you’re spending that kind of money, the movie better be good!

I’m single, and I have no kids. In fact, at the young age of twenty-two, many would say I still am a kid (The ushers would not agree with you. They turn me down every time I try to sneak by them with the discounted children’s ticket in my hand). But even though I don’t spend eighty at the movies, fifteen still puts a hole in a broke, recent art-school graduate’s pocket. Being the movie buff that I am, I know the best, and proper way to view a film is on the big screen, with an audience. But… with movies suddenly getting speedier DVD releases, and the ability to even (dare I say it?) download them for free (not me, I swear), I, as well as many others have become rather particular about what to see in theaters, or what to add to the Netflix que. Also, I find myself judging a film more harshly after seeing it in theaters than I would if I caught it on cable.

Are the people at The Weinstein Group aware of this? Is that the reason why KILLSHOT went straight-to-DVD? There is no doubt that word-of-mouth can make or break a film in its theatrical run. Sometimes it can be too costly for a distribution company to send a film out to all the multiplexes when they aren’t confident it’s going to do well.

KILLSHOT is about an older, experienced hitman named Blackbird (it’s his Indian name) played by Mickey Rourke. Like all mafia hit men, he works strictly within the rules he has set for himself. Most importantly, he leaves no witnesses. He teams up with a younger, more careless criminal played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. With their clashing styles, they botch a murder attempt, and leave two witnesses, Carmen and Wayne – played by Diane Lane and Thomas Jane (did that last sentence rhyme?). Carmen and Wayne are recently separated, but despite their problems, its evident they never stopped loving one another. After the crime, they enter the witness protection program, which allows them to rekindle what might have been lost otherwise.

KILLSHOT works because of its strong performances. All the above actors seem real and believable. I heard that Rourke was at the very least not the first choice to play Blackbird – or “Bird” as Levitt calls him, but I’m happy he did. This was filmed before THE WRESTLER, Rourke’s “comeback” performance as many like to say. I don’t like to say this. As Roy Frumkes expressed in his SIN CITY review a little while back “The resurrection of Mickey had started before Aronofsky got a hold of him.” I even liked him a lot in SPUN.

Jane and Lane’s characters get the most to work with, where Rourke and Levitt’s characters seem a bit more unclear and misguided. I couldn’t help but get the feeling that the screenwriter had a difficult time translating character back-story from book to screen (the film is based on an Elmore Leonard novel of the same name). When Bird teams up with Richie (Levitt), I didn’t understand why. I kept thinking I missed something. It was eventually revealed toward the end in what I guess was supposed to be a twist, but in my opinion, it would have worked better as a character device rather than a plot device. There was no mystery to it, like I said – I was just confused. Rosario Dawson plays Richie’s Elvis-obsessed girlfriend and is another example of how I feel things were lost in translation. I have never read this book, so I can not be sure, but I have read other Leonard novels, and this seems like one of his quirky characters that usually work quite well in the books, but have no real purpose for being in the movie.

The film moves along quite nicely, and given the respectable performances, I’d say this is one I’m glad I watched. I just don’t know if I would have felt the same way if I’d seen it in a theater.

In conclusion, I recommend checking this one out if it passes by, but it’s certainly not worth a great deal of effort, or money.

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