There is something very odd about Murder by Contract; from Vince Edward's existential hitman and Perry Botkin's singular guitar soundtrack to New Wave-esq camera flourishes. For an unpolished, at times ludicrous, Noir B-Movie, Murder by Contrast is entirely fascinating. You can see Scorcese's infatuation with the film in Taxi Driver as Claude & Travis exist as kindred spirits, compulsive in their pursuits. Ace.
Stylised. Some kind of beautiful, creepy guitar soundtrack... a hitman who's half The Fonz, half Jimmy Cagney. Pair with a couple of impatient stooges who differ in how much they 'get' him, and you got a film. And not a bad one. Morality must be upheld, mind you; so it all wraps up prettier than a parcel. But plenty of good shots, and a satisfying aftertaste. You won't need to think - but that was fine for me!
A gritty and average concept for a noir film turned on its head by its telling. By that I mean, the central character is the bad guy and the good guys, merely secondary players. What is it about character viewpoint, that no matter how ruthless and evil they may be, we find ourselves rooting for them? This film manages to turn moral questions on their head, and leaves me feeling a little guilty by its trickery.
In a way, a must watch for all 'killer porn' exploitation film and clearly the inspiration for many later films. The end is weak, the libertarian angle on antimilitarianism/state murder does not extend into internationalism and the some of the discussion on morality/humanity/employment sometimes more of an accident than a conscious choice. In the end they are here, inform us and the film focuses on the right bits.
A real tough-guy movie. You can feel the sweat from the tiny apartments and smell the smoke from chugging Cadillac cars. Even if the supposedly 'genius' character is full of random, useless plans (a bow and arrow?), there's a tight script. Anyway, it's bizarrely self-contained. That's a good thing.
AKA Never Leave a Slugged Cop Untied. For a bright guy our villain makes several rooky mistakes. Good to see his motivation is entirely middle class ie needs the dough to buy some classy real estate where he intends to live happily ever after. Otherwise, his reluctance to rub out a broad in the line of business is unexplained and fatal.
Interestingly odd crime film, but not the 'masterpiece' that Scorsese and others hail it as. It's not really a 'Noir' either. Low budget B-movie aesthetics tether a story which touches, in an elliptical, somewhat absurd sense, on notions of existentialism and the death urge. Sure, it's quite dark, but the tonal shifts to the slightly humorous dialogue don't gel, and the ending seems rushed and rather unsatisfying.
¿Qué fue aquello que hizo retroceder al verdugo al momento de exterminar a su objetivo? ¿Es que acaso el protagonista de esta película, una suerte de sabio del oficio, cree tanto en su palabra que se vió perplejo ante el acto fallido de su teoría? "Murder by contract" tiene como gran atractivo la personalidad de su asesino a sueldo. Un individuo que cruza la frontera del cinismo a fin de convertirse en perverso.
Si Robert Bresson hubiera incursionado en el cine negro americano, seguramente el resultado sería Murder by Contract; una película minimalista y seca protagonizada por un criminal existencialista. La escena donde Claude expone su filosofía del crimen es impresionante, al igual que la discusión con el mesonero acerca de la rigurosidad.