Most romantic film #15: Wild Target (2010)

Warning: this is an unexpected and surprising little indie film. Didn’t think I was going to like it until I was, suddenly, sucked in to the characters and story about 45 minutes into the film. Now, however, I can say it is delightful and well worth my time.

 Well-written, witty, intelligent, and, yes, surprising as a contemporary romantic comedy.

The main actors are Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, and Rupert Grint (yes, Ron Weasly of HP fame). The supporting cast includes Rupert Everett, Martin Freeman (Watson of the new Sherlock Holmes), and the ever-marvelous Eileen Atkins. Small cast, small sets, small story–with big impact.

Nighy plays Victor Maynard, the most successful hit man ever. Blunt is his target-turned-love interest, a con artist with many personality tics (stick with her, you’ll be happy you did!). Grint is the unwitting witness who gets drawn into their circle and discovers a natural bent and skill for assassination.  Everett is the mark conned by Blunt, who hires first Nighy then Freeman to kill her; Freeman is the #2 hit man determined to become #1. Atkins is Nighy’s mother.

This film got mixed, mostly bad reviews. I agree that it is not your generic love story, hit man action story, buddy caper story, etc…. it is BETTER: smarter, funnier, more challenging and interesting, more demanding of its audience. I refer to the :deliciously twisted” characters, as one review put it.

And if the idea of a love story between Bill Nighy and Emily Blunt seems odd–he’s 60-something and she’s 30-something–this one is handled with grace, delicacy, and a sense of two people genuinely attracted by the brain, personality, kindness, and reality of the other… not simply their looks. And the moment when she realizes she is attracted to Nighy–priceless.  

Do yourself a favor and make this a “date night” film.

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