A by-the-numbers hit man crime-thriller that follows all the plot conventions in an unspectacular way-- a hit man grows a conscience during a job, his bosses seek atonement on him, for him to seek vengeance on them-- and the first 1 1/2 hours is about as simplistic as you can get, with the drama typical and the story trajectory/character arc very cliched. The final 35 minutes delivers the brainless fun, at least.
As has been said already, a very typical revenge plot with unsubtle nods to so many other movies of the gangster/crime genre - but this film ultimately transcends its influences and bare materials to deliver what is an incredibly poetic and moving love story. I loved it.
An absolute standout film in its genre. The only film that compares, in my opinion, is A DIRTY CARNIVAL. It is starkly modern, existential, and replete with 21st century malaise. Themes of alienation and loss are accented by scenes of harsh violence that do not seem gratuitous or inappropriate. There is a longing in this film for something one can never have.
It is amazing how one particular choice can change everything for you, I love the subtle way that this issue was handled. Despite the violence this was a very touching film about love, honour and how some moments in life are too beautiful for words.
" One late autumn night, the disciple awoke crying. So the master asked the disciple, "Did you have a nightmare?" "No." "Did you have a sad dream?" "No," said the disciple. "I had a sweet dream." "Then why are you crying so sadly?" The disciple wiped his tears away and quietly answered, "Because the dream I had can't come true."