Terence Stamp is Willie, a gangster’s henchman turned “supergrass” (informer) trying to live in peaceful hiding in a remote Spanish village. Sun-dappled bliss turns to nerve-racking suspense, however, when two hit men—played by a soulless John Hurt and a youthful, loose-cannon Tim Roth—come a-calling to bring Willie back for execution. This stylish early gem from Stephen Frears boasts terrific performances from a roster of England’s best hard-boiled actors and ravishing photography of its desolate Spanish locations—a splendid backdrop for a rather sordid story. —The Criterion Collection
Frears was born in Leicester, England to an Anglican father and a Jewish mother. Attended the Trinity College in Cambridge before starting his carreer in television where he contributed to several high-profile series such as the BBC’s Play for Today. In the mid-1980s he came to prominence as an important director of British and later American films. It was his production of the one-off drama My Beautiful Laundrette for Channel 4 in 1985 that led to his notice as a capable film director when the production was released theatrically to great acclaim. He next directed another successful British film, the Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears in 1987, followed by a second film from a Hanif Kureshi screen play, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid. The following year he made his Hollywood debut with Dangerous Liaisons. Frears had another critical success with The Grifters, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director but suffered a major box office disappointment with Hero, starring… read more
Antagonizing conceptions of life and death among criminals. An stylish and multi-layered examination of that moment of truth, of coming to terms with the vague but terrifying notion of parting this world. Fantastic performances by the leading triad. Probably Frears' best and most underrated cinematic venture.
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I didn’t expect much but was blown away by this film an unorthadox crime thriller. that is done as a existential drama. It involves a zen protagonist. Who seems above allthe evil characters and situations… read review
I’ve never really rated Stephen Frears – he seems mostly to make television movies – very good ones – but television movies nonetheless. Tamara Drewe, which I caught recently at the cinema was a pleasant… read review