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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

To Kill Or Not To Kill: Lofty "Memories Of A Hitman" Attempts To Find A New Mark

"MEMORIES OF A HITMAN" (2015)
Genre: Thriller
Length- 13:00
Company:  Western Spaghetti's

A hitman (Jonathan Lambrechts) reminisces on the day when everything went wrong . . . and it all started with the night when his daughter (Lena de Reydt) was killed.

A BIT OF A MIX UP

"Memories of a Hitman" is written, directed and edited by Sebastian Vuye.  It's beautifully shot, with nice visuals and an opening that brought me back to Ridley Scott's Gladiator.  And on that note, the film quality is high enough and the color correction is done so cinematically that you could play this next to most big budget films and you'd not notice much of a difference.

Where the film falters is in its writing.  First of all, it's unclear whether the hitman was always in this profession, or whether he chose to enter this line of work because of his family's death.  Either way, it takes away from our sympathy for his character.  Yes, he lost his family, and that's sad -- but he's also taken away many lives, no questions asked, and those people also had families.

This leads me to the big problem with the story: it is because of all of the above that the "reveal" late in the story comes off as a "DUH!" instead of a "Eureka!" like it's supposed to, and as a result there's no emotional impact to it.  Without that 180 degree turn in the hitman's psyche also taking place in our minds as well, the finale completely loses any resonance.  It becomes just a convenient ending to the story, and I can tell that Vuye intended much more than that.

FINAL THOUGHTS

And let's face it: the whole "hitman redemption" story has been done to death.  This is a cliched concept from the get go, but Vuye is attempting to spin it in a new direction.  There's something to be said for a filmmaker taking risks to try and tell a story from a new perspective.  I respect that, and can tolerate a few missteps in that direction far more easily than someone making the same tired garbage we've already seen a million times.

With a better script, the next time Vuye and company will really hit it out of the park.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 1.5 / 5.  The entire story hinges on the resonance of that reveal, and it just can't follow through with the logic error I mentioned earlier.
Directing: 3 / 5.  By and large a well directed movie.  The shootout was a bit of a headscratcher though -- while interesting and stylized, it stuck out in an otherwise slow and thoughtful film and felt entirely unclimactic.  
Editing: 3 / 5.  Nicely cut together and the film felt about as long as it needed to be.  Some odd errors appeared in the subtitled dialogue: lines appeared toward the beginning that were not voice acted.
Sound/Music: 2.5 / 5.  Moody and ambient, but altogether too constant.  The soundtrack was so one note that it became boring after a while.  The sound design as a whole was effective.
Acting: 3 / 5.  Seth Hunter Perkins provided the voice-over acting, and he sounds perfect for this role.    His delivery was monotone and deliberate, but I suspect this was as much a directorial as an actor's choice.  Lambrechts looked suitably morose in his role.

Final Grade: 2.6 / 5.

Don't forget to check out the teaser to "Memories of a Hitman" and follow the creators on Facebook to learn more about its release date!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!