Going to a british comedy on the eve of 14th July in France is not a very patriotic thing to do, is it? To soften the guilt, I can say that it was a remake of a French movie – Pierre Salvadori’s Cible Émouvante (1993), which was described as an elegantly french picture. But let’s be frank – it’s the British who are masters of the black humor. Although, Wild Target is not the best example of this wonderful national quality, it has its pearls.
What’s it all about? It’s the middle-aged, a bit Léon-like hitman Victor Maynard, who’s the central object of attention. Soon he will be 55, he learns French and particularly enjoys Burgundy wines. And, oh, he wants to retire. Everything goes smoother than smooth until there appears this character of Rose who is a tough nut to crack even for a pro like Maynard. She’s a colorful outlaw who’s personality could be expressed within two words: carpe diem! Maynard is the opposite – well-mannered to the bone, neat as hell, and as discreet as a not existing person. Then there is the weed smoking guy who seems to be doing everything by accident. He becomes Maynard’s apprentice.
Wild Target has done a good job selecting the leading actors, but to speak the truth, it does not give them an opportunity to show how talented they really are. Bill Nighy, for example, is much more than the funny aristocratic misfit, that he tends to play more and more lately.
You may also approve of the way how Lynn pays a tribute to one of the grands of cinema history. Wild Target’s lightly points out several Hitchcockian elements, reminding a movie where Boy’s best friend is his mother. If you still can’t recall this picture, the director will freshen up your memory with some takes, shot in the identical angles.
What makes this movie worth the word comedy? First of all those are the witty dialogues soaked in british black humor, in ensemble with the images, often carrying a completely contrary message. Nighy is excellent in his role, in some way as funny as inspector Clouseau. But all in all this film has its dark moments – the slapstick ones, which kill some of the black comedy spirit. Some scenes are really like from Mr Bean series (no offense, Mr Bean!), and to say the truth, they do not make the movie funnier! The next faux-pas are Addams family and kid-who-likes-to-play-with-guns clichés, which Lynn seemingly wasn’t capable to avoid. Altogether this makes Wild Target more of a pop-corn comedy, which you go to see when you’re not up for too much thinking. It’s not a waste of time, you should see this movie, but be aware that it will be more of a quality entertainment than cinematography.