Harry (Oliver Reed) and partner, Birdy (Ian McShane), bust out of prison. Harry's got some money stashed away, but he has more pressing matters to attend to. He plans on killing his wife who left him while in prison and is now pregnant with another man's baby.
I'm amazed. Until last night, I'd never even heard of Sitting Target. What a film! It's a dark, dirty film filled with bad people. It's the kind of movie where none of the characters has much in the way of good qualities and no one comes out whole in the end. While there's plenty of violence, it's quick and sporadic. Occasionally, it catches you off-guard and, at these times, works to perfection. Throw Oliver Reed into the mix doing his best crazed, unstable, lunatic schtick (man could he play this kind of character) and add in one of my favorite actors of all time, Ian McShane - how have I not seen this?
If you break Sitting Target into three acts, the first is fantastic. The prison break is tension filled. The violence is sparse, but effective. The second act does drag a bit, but this is where we get a better indication of what Harry is capable of. Lastly, the third act is sublime. The twist is amazing and worked on me as well as any I can remember. And the violence here leads to an incredibly satisfactory conclusion.
The weakest part of the film has to be Jill St John as Harry's wife. I'm sure she was added to the cast as she was coming off Diamonds are Forever and she had a "name" American audiences would recognize. But, she's completely miscast. She looks and acts like she should be in a different movie. And that accent - what a disaster. Still, she's not bad enough to ruin the experience in its entirety. Well worth seeking out.
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