Mon 6 Dec 2010
For reasons that are unbeknownst and downright baffling to me, “Wild Target” got little to no publicity and wasn’t screened for the large majority of critics.
Starring Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Eileen Atkins, Rupert Everett, and Martin Freeman, the cast alone is worth the price of admission. I’m fairly certain these people could make C-SPAN transcripts worth watching (not that I’m excited to test this theory).
Nighy stars as a highly skilled assassin, tasked with killing Blunt after she double-crosses Everett. Of course, she’s far too beautiful and intriguing (in a kleptomaniac/free spirit kind of way) so after a chance run-in with an aimless stranger (Grint), the trio are on the run from Everett’s goons and new assassin for hire (Freeman). How’s that for a plot synopsis!
Anyone who’s seen similar genre films will know where this is headed but that’s okay. The charm here lies in the performances; which are exaggerated but oh so lovable and full of laughs.
This, of course, starts with Nighy. While this isn’t his first stab at being the main player in a film, most people are only familiar with his supporting/ensemble roles in films like “Love, Actually”, “Shaun of the Dead”, “The Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Underworld” franchises, and even the newest “Harry Potter“.
Here, his unique posturing, gesturing and line deliveries are allowed to shine throughout the picture. He’s like a British Christopher Walken, it doesn’t really matter the content of the words but they sound so amazing coming from their lips. It could be Shakespeare or the microwave instructions on a TV dinner, either will sound amazing.
He puts that charm and swagger, mixed in with his usual and seemingly automatic ability to seem endearing to an audience, to good use here. There’s no small age gap between him and Blunt (who is as ravishing, sweet, and yet fiery as ever). However, the manner in which both play the parts make the relationship far less creepy than most other acting pairs could have pulled off, given the circumstances.
Everyone in the cast echoes this ability to seem just right for the roles; whether it’s the wide-eyed eagerness of Grint, the domineering yet loving mother/son relationship created by Atkins, or the arrogance and smarminess of Freeman (whose toothy smile perfectly amps those qualities). Clearly, the casting department earned their salaries on this one.
The script and direction aren’t that inspired but they both allow for the actors to work their magic on the overall result. There’s a bit of quirkiness and an offbeat sensibility to it all but the ride is a lot of fun and I’m highly recommending “Wild Target”, giving it a 3.5 out of 5 – which is high considering it’s almost solely the cast that makes this worthwhile. Fans of Nighy and Blunt (which should be everyone) will especially enjoy this affair and if you can’t find this little gem in a theater near you, be sure to place this on your rental queue.