Stephen Frears
GBR 1983
98 min

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 nerveracking 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, music by Eric Clapton and virtuoso flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucía, and ravishing photography of its desolate Spanish locations – a splendid backdrop for a rather sordid story. Frears and screenwriter Peter Prince were surely influenced by 60s’ and 70s’ road movies like Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point and Professione: Reporter, which used desert backdrops to highlight their characters’ alienation. In directing Professione: Reporter, Julian Petley has written, Antonioni attempted to “transform the narrative codes within which he is working to turn them against themselves.” Frears did this by eschewing car chases, gunfights, and sex, by blurring the traditional roles of captive and captor, by poeticizing a story that germinates in baseness, and by focusing on a hero who finally lets down the audience. (Graham Fuller)

  • Terence Stamp - Willie Parker
  • John Hurt - Braddock
  • Lennie Peters - Corrigan
  • Tim Roth - Myron
  • Fernando Rey - Kommissar
  • Laura Del Sol - Maggie
  • Bill Hunter - Harry
  • Peter Prince
  • Mike Molloy
  • Paul Le Mare
  • Mick Audsley
  • Paco de Lucía
  • Eric Clapton
  • Andrew Sanders
  • Marit Allen
Recorded Picture Company Central Productions Zenith Entertainment
Park Circus
35 mm
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