Thriller about a contract killer whose wife has disappeared. When he is hired by an international organization to carry out a "shy" or hit, he suspects they are connected with her disappeara... Read allThriller about a contract killer whose wife has disappeared. When he is hired by an international organization to carry out a "shy" or hit, he suspects they are connected with her disappearance.Thriller about a contract killer whose wife has disappeared. When he is hired by an international organization to carry out a "shy" or hit, he suspects they are connected with her disappearance.
Well, for starters, the central mystery itself is not very interesting: the neglected wife of brooding Donald Sutherland the No. 1 hit-man for an enigmatic espionage organization is forever threatening to leave him and does exactly that at the very start of the film; unfortunately, while Sutherland is very good in his role and literally the best thing in it, the actress playing his wife (Francine Racette) is as stiff and unappealing as one of her husband's handiwork. This fact renders the knowledge that Racette is none other than Sutherland's own wife in real life as well almost impossible to believe, since this is hardly borne by their interaction here least of all during a fragmentary sex scene that ludicrously apes Nicolas Roeg's DON'T LOOK NOW (1973) which, of course, also starred Sutherland! Actually, I had seen Racette act previously in two notable films Dario Argento's FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET (1971) and Joseph Losey's MR. KLEIN (1976) but I can't really say if her efforts were any better there. For the record, THE DISAPPEARANCE proved to be Racette's penultimate film before retiring to raise her three children with Sutherland. Thankfully, although most of them are practically extended cameos, the supporting cast of whom, I thought, John Hurt comes off best does keep one watching but, again, the utterly predictable double surprise ending closes the film with a whimper instead of a bang.
Equally to blame for the film's ultimate failure is Stuart Cooper whose direction is pretentious to a fault and, unsurprisingly, he too faded exclusively into TV-movie limbo soon after; for what it's worth, many years ago I did get to watch two of his TV ventures A.D. (1985) and THE FORTUNATE PILGRIM (1988) both of which were large-scale productions. Having said that, screenwriter Mayersberg is himself well-known for his non-linear scripts but the would-be audacious time-jumping techniques abused here merely attempt to imbue an obscure and thin plot with some elusive sense of significance; incidentally, even if the 88-minute version I watched was 12 minutes short of the original, I doubt that the missing footage would made things any clearer! Unfortunately for the viewer, Stuart Cooper is no visual stylist like Nicolas Roeg, much less a master film-maker in the league of Alain Resnais! Besides, given the structure and themes of the film, at times I couldn't help but unfavorably compare it to John Boorman's vastly superior POINT BLANK (1967)...
- Feb 9, 2008