Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Hard Way - EIFF - 26/6/10

Showing as part of a retrospective of "lost" British films this gritty thriller starring Patrick McGoohan tells the story of Irish hitman John Connor (McGoohan) and his attempts to leave behind his life as a gun for hire.

When gangster McNeal (Lee Van Cleef) approaches Connor to undertake one last hit for him Connor refuses and McNeal is forced to take drastic action to force his hand. What follows is easily the match of the more lauded "Get Carter" and highlights the ability of McGoohan to dominate the big screen with as much ease as he did the small screen in "The Prisoner". The scenes involving Cleef and McGoohan are electric.

With a very realistic feel to it this is a thriller that really does thrill. At one point McGoohan plays cat and mouse with some of McNeals thugs on the moors around his house and the tension is almost unbearable. Only the bizarre talking heads of Connors wife (Edna O'Brien) break up the realism. With some superb cinematography too, provided by Henri Decae (who was also D.O.P on "The Boys From Brazil") and music by Brian Eno it's amazing that this film isn't better known and better loved.

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