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Interview with a Hitman(2012)
An elite hitman returns to erase his past only to find that somebody has messed with his future.
For more about Interview with a Hitman and the Interview with a Hitman Blu-ray release, see Interview with a Hitman Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on February 23, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Luke Goss, Caroline Tillette, Stephen Marcus, Danny Midwinter, Elliot Greene, Philip Whitchurch
Director: Perry Bhandal
» See full cast & crew
Interview with a Hitman Blu-ray Review
Evidently the vampire had already been interviewed.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, February 23, 2013
There's a certain school of filmmaking that argues that so-called "pure cinema" is the truest mode of communicating via celluloid. "Pure cinema" tends to rely as much on purely visual information as possible, telling the story in images with a paucity of dialogue and in fact in some cases even sound effects or music. It might sound (no pun intended) a lot like the silent era, but as the first few minutes of Interview With a Hitman prove, it can really be quite viscerally exciting at times. This particular film proceeds for several minutes without one line of dialogue as we follow two seemingly unrelated men. One has driven to the middle of nowhere, sat in the back of a car, taken a picture of himself, then popped a couple of pills and strung a thick black bag over his head, at which point he quickly passes out. Is he planning some bizarre form of suicide? Meanwhile we follow another man on a more convoluted journey, one which finally does end in a few mumbled words of dialogue after he pretends to be a pizza delivery guy, enters a supposed customer's hotel room and promptly shoots the guy in the head. At that point the two stories intersect, for it turns out the first guy is a journalist who wants to interview the second guy, who turns out to be a notorious hitman. At this point, Interview With a Hitman eschews the "image only" conceit and turns into a pretty talky enterprise, albeit one that provides an often compelling look at a kid who due to circumstances totally beyond his control ended up living a life of crime and murder for hire.
The allusion to filmmaking schools in the above paragraph is not entirely by chance, for writer-director Perry Bhandal has not one but two Master's Degrees in both Film and Creative Writing, and he seems out to prove himself a double threat in Interview With a Hitman, his first feature film. Bhandal was evidently removed from a previous project which he had written, and Interview With a Hitman was shot on an extremely low budget and in a ridiculously short amount of time (most sources state a mere eighteen days), perhaps because Bhandal wanted to make sure he retained control and got everything "in the can" before any bean counters could get involved. What results is an incredibly brisk film, but one which struggles at times to really connect with the audience, especially since most of the characters, including its titular hitman, are not exactly exemplars of morality and are thus fairly hard to root for in any conventional sense.
Bhandal in fact introduces us to hitman Viktor (played as an adult by Lukas Goss) in a startling opening sequence where Viktor is still a very young boy and is aiming a pistol squarely at the head of a little girl. In this post-Newtown age, it's an especially disturbing image, but it viscerally sets up the character as an emotionally dead, ruthless individual who has learned to survive with a "kill or be killed" mentality that will in fact color the rest of the film. After that startling opening, we get the largely wordless sequence outlined above, after which Viktor settles down with his interviewer to document his troubled life.
Interview With a Hitman spends quite a bit of time detailing the roiling atmosphere in which Viktor was raised, as if that alone will provide enough context and motivation for the young boy to decide that if he can't beat them (meaning organized criminal elements), he might as well join them. But that in and of itself remains a central issue with the film: it's hard to feel any sympathy for a kid that so easily becomes a killer (Viktor "starts" young, so to speak) and never really takes a backward glance. Viktor's emotionless reminiscences also add to a kind of dissociative quality throughout much of Interview With a Hitman, making the audience almost twice removed from what's happening—first via Viktor's lobotomized renditions of it, and then through the medium of film which in and of itself creates a certain distance.
There's an obviously intentionally ominous tone running through the film that makes its supposed jaunt into relative domesticity courtesy of a girlfriend (played by Caroline Tillette) a needless exercise in non-suspense, since the viewer is already primed for disaster to strike. We've already seen Viktor kill a lot of people (the film is rather gruesome at times) and are well aware, as is Viktor himself, that there are rather copious elements out for revenge, and so in a certain way Interview With a Hitman gives up its final conceit early on in the game. Despite some narrative missteps, though, Bhatal has still crafted a strangely compelling feature that is undeniably visceral at times, even if it may leave a bad taste in many viewers' mouths.
Interview with a Hitman Blu-ray, Video Quality
Interview With a Hitman is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.85:1. This digitally shot features offers a spectacularly sharp and often incredibly well defined image, especially due to the fact that Bhatal and cinematographer Richard Swingle favor extreme close-ups quite a bit of the time. Some of the backlit shots of Luke Goss in close-up reveal virtually each individual piece of stubble on his chin (see the first screenshot accompanying this review for a representative example). Colors are somewhat muted, and Swingle and Bhatal tend to push contrast some of the time (see screenshot eight), which robs the image of a minute amount of fine detail. Contrast is generally quite strong, though a lot of this film tends to play out in shadowy, dimly lit environments (aside from the apartment where the actual interview is taking place).
Interview with a Hitman Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Interview With a Hitman features a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix which is actually surprisingly subtle as far as films of this ilk typically go. In fact that's probably one reason why the track is so effective—instead of bludgeoning the listener over the head with nonstop LFE and whiz bang surround activity, the sound mix here is deliberately restrained for long swaths of the picture, only to be suddenly interrupted by bursts of aggressive activity. There are some really well done ambient environmental effects sprinkled throughout the film, sometimes with things as small as the sound of a screen door opening in Viktor's childhood Romanian tenement. Aural depth of field is often exceptional, especially for such a low budget affair. Fidelity remains excellent throughout this presentation, and dynamic range is wide, though there are "pauses" in between the range of dynamics.
Interview with a Hitman Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Interview with a Hitman Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Interview With a Hitman doesn't completely hang together quite as well as it might, but it's still a remarkable debut for Perry Bhandal, who if nothing else can use the film as an entrée to command a higher budget for whatever projects he moves on to. Goss is quite good in a role that intentionally deprives him of the chance to show much (if any) emotion. Some of the supporting players don't quite match his finesse, but Bhandal keeps things moving quickly enough that few will probably care in the long run. The film is unapologetically violent and quite bloody at times, and it also doesn't attempt to sugar coat some pretty despicable characters (including Viktor himself), but in a very real way, Interview With a Hitman plays out with the sort of inexorable quality that one usually associates with great tragedy. This Blu-ray offers great video and audio, and even without much in the way of supplements, it comes Recommended.
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Interview with a Hitman Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Interview with a Hitman Blu-ray - January 14, 2013
Texas-based distributors Well Go USA Entertainment have officially announced that they will release on Blu-ray director Perry Bhandal's action thriller Interview with a Hitman (2012), starring Luke Goss, Caroline Tillette and Stephen Marcus. The release will be ...
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