“Killshot” – 2008. Dir. John Madden

With Mickey Rourke, Dianne Lane, Thomas Jane, Rosario Dawson with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Hal Holbrook

“Real Life? What the fuck is real life?”

“Killshot” is one of those interesting little films that for one reason or another flown under the radar. It’s a film based on an Elmore Leonard novel, which stars Mickey Rourke as a Native American hitman Armand “The Blackbird” Degas, Diane Lane and Thomas Jane as a married couple who separate than become witnesses to Blackbird’s botched scheme put together by his new partner Richie Nix (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who is a four time loser.

The start of the film is a flashback of Rourke, showing him and two other men storm a hospital at night, and kill someone unknown – while leaving the one of the men comes face to face with a nurse, spotting his Rourke pulls his gun and aims to shoot the witness but instead hits the young thug who just so happens to be his little brother.

This film is your above average thriller that has an excellent group of actors that keep us interested in the film, even when it does start to drag a little bit. The narrative first starts with Blackbird’s story, than shifts to Lane and Jane and then stays somewhere in between.

Mickey Rourke is wonderful in this film, and I think it is his finest performance. Rourke holds zero emotion in his face or in his eyes in this film, and speaks with a monotone mumble of a Native American accent. He moves very gracefully and poetically in the film – he seems to have all the answers and all the solutions.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has become something on a mystery wrapped in a riddle. He’s an AMAZING actor! He is so fucking over-the-top in this film it’s as if he’s channeling Eric Roberts. He steals every scene, and you just enjoy watching him so much. Its unreal the range this guy has as an actor, and like I said before I think that Gordon-Levitt is the second coming of Heath Ledger who was the second coming of Daniel Day-Lewis.

Thomas Jane and Diane Lane are good in the film, but they aren’t really given much to do, aside from running away from Rourke. Their characters aren’t nearly developed enough for us to really care about them, but I think it’s the fact that Diane Lane and Thomas Jane are on screen playing them, that substitutes for character development.

I’ve always felt using good character actors like Lane and Jane is a very smart way of skimping out on character development. We get the idea that they’re not happy, but we’re not given much to work with, so we rely on their chemistry and their craft as an actor to pull us through. It works and works pretty well.

This film holds your interest with its impressive cast but it will lose you on its rough editing and dragged out storylines that you don’t really seem to care much about. The film shines when Rourke and Gordon-Levitt are on screen, and that keeps you wanting more. It’s pulp material – I mean, what else would one expect from Elmore Leonard?

Rourke is on one hell of an upswing*, I just really hope he doesn’t over expose himself and float back into “straight to DVD land” or even worse – pull a Steven Segal and do a “straight to Spike TV”. That would be heartbreaking. I don’t think he will, because Rourke is so capable of being able to give great performances. And I promise you, “Killshot” gives you Rourke’s best.

Rating: 7/10

*Look people, Rourke’s comeback didn’t happen with “The Wrestler” – that was his Hollywood comeback. Rourke’s part in Steve Buscemi’s “Animal Factory” where he played the crossdressing cell mate of Edward Furlong and then in Sean Penn’s wonderful little ensemble “The Pledge”; that’s what started his comeback as a great character actor “Sin City” and “The Wrestler” proved that Rourke can once again star in Hollywood films like “Iron Man 2” because he has a little bit of box office appeal.

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Author: Frank Mengarelli

Everybody relax, Frank's here. After going to film school at Columbia College Chicago, Frank decided to underachieve with his vast knowledge of film into a career in civil service. Frank had a brief stint as a film blogger, and then he met the heterosexual love of his life, Nick Clement. The two instantly bonded over their love from everything to Terence Malick to THE EXPENDABLES films. Some of Frank's favorite filmmakers are Terence Malick, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone and Spike Lee. Some of his favorite films are THE TREE OF LIFE, STAR WARS (all of them), BAD LIEUTENANT, THE THING and ALL THAT JAZZ. Frank spends his free time with his dog Roger, collecting any Star Wars collectible he can find and trying to finish his pretentious, first person narrative novel(la), LARGE MEN IN SMALL CARS..

6 thoughts on ““Killshot” – 2008. Dir. John Madden”

  1. Villains are always the better parts.

    Did you know Michael Cera and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are having a mini pissing match? Like, just going off on each other last year sometime?

    Thought I’d share…

  2. I’m glad you mentioned The Pledge reviving Rourke’s career. Cause he was a surprise in that film, cause not many heard much from him in a long time, and when he was put in that film, strictly to be dramatic, it was great, cause he did a beautiful job.

  3. The Wrestler serves more as the capstone of Rourke’s comeback rather than the beginning of it, I agree. He’s got a lot of other roles preceding it that lend themselves more to his comeback, especially in the sense that without those roles he may never have been visible enough to even be deemed viable for The Wrestler.

    Glad to see The Pledge get some love. Sadly underseen movie.

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