Terence Stamp is Willie, a gangster’s henchman turned “supergrass” (informer) trying to live in peaceful hiding in a Spanish village. Sun-dappled bliss turns to nerve-racking suspense, however, when two hit men—played by John Hurt and Tim Roth—come a-calling to bring Willie back for execution.
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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.
I enjoyed the film - especially the performances of Hurt, Stamp, Roth and del Sol all around - but I'm rather disappointed with the ending which, as well staged and elaborated as it is, feels thumbtacked upon the flow of the story (felt like something else should've happened rather than a violent breakdown). That and the appearances of Eric Clapton and Fernando Rey are all too fleeting to be fully appreciated.
It's hard to care for a film if you don't buy in. Here i don't believe anything that's happening. I don't believe in the story, don't believe in the characters. Except the postcard from Spain, i don't understand what Frears tries to do with his royal casting. Some (cheap) philosophy ? We'll all die one day etc etc. Almost never a true idea translated into images.