A professional assassin is coerced into taking on one last job.



, (as Richard F. Tombleson)

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Complete credited cast:
Edna O'Brien ...
Ronan Wilmot ...
Kevin Flood ...
Joe Lynch ...
Michael Muldoon ...
John Cowley ...
Graveyard Caretaker
1st Mercenary
Richard McAdoo ...
2nd Mercenary
Peter Brayham ...
French Hitman
Mesag Muruko ...
Father Cressy


A professional assassin is coerced into taking on one last job.

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hitman | three word title | See All (2) »







Release Date:

June 2010 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Camino dificil  »

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This project was developed by John Boorman. See more »


Dear Irish Boy
Arranged by Johnny Potts
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User Reviews

Expertly shot tale of an ultra-repressed killer
27 June 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I had to do a double take looking at this one whilst deciding whether or not to see it at this year's Edinburgh Film Festival IMDb voters score it a measly 4.9/10 currently, and yet on the other hand, it's produced by John Boorman, photographed by Henri Decaë, starring Patrick McGoohan and Lee van Cleef, with a soundtrack by Brian Eno? Did all those guys really screw up? The answer is manifestly no, and we have yet another inexplicable IMDb rating, perhaps caused by people voting for a different movie called The Hard Way (there are several)? So the film is shot in the UK, in Ireland, and in Paris, and is just gorgeous. The locations are dingy, all green stains, brown stains, darkness. The script is quite generic, it's about a hit-man (John Connor - McGoohan) who wants to retire but has the "one last job" forced on him, no added value in the plot structure at all. What is really poignant though is that throughout the movie we get a running commentary on Connor's character from his wife in eerie soliloquies. He is a very terse man, who only speaks when absolutely necessary and appears to have no personal connections, except with guns, for which he is an absolute nut. His wife says that he "never knew who he was or what he wanted", which is one of the saddest things I've ever heard, and made me feel quite weepy. He seems to have believed in his family as an abstract concept though and sends them quite unsolicited cheques after each job. His daughters, we are told, are in America doing well, which strangely makes the film quite beautiful, an effect perhaps like a robin flitting through a mouldy cemetery.

You would think in a low budgeter that the action scenes would be quite bad, but in fact they are really visceral and abrupt, done perfectly each time. Van Cleef plays middle man McNeal with whom there has to be a showdown following the refusal to allow McGoohan to retire. He does well but generally appears in the film's weaker scenes. You get the feeling that whoever wrote the script for this one was looking to do something entirely different to Decaë and McGoohan; Tombleson and Grogan the two credited writers have no other writing credits to their names, no idea why Boorman picked the script. There's some claptrap talk about mercenary assaults in Africa which caught the public imagination of the era, and McNeal does implausible juggling acts with the amount of missions on his plate. The final showdown, whilst very beautiful also looks to play on an antagonism between the two men which the film quite simply hadn't established, and wasn't the point of the movie. These men were set up by the movie as soulless automata, Connor capable of rage, but only as a defensive measure, he's the ultimate introvert. Despite the fact that the scriptwriters and the other creative dynamos in the film weren't on the same wavelength, I think it causes only subtle elements of discord to arise and in fact the film feels quite the masterpiece on reflection.

You'll notice that I haven't spoken about director Michael Dryhurst. There must be a story here, because this is the only film he has credit for directing, having been either an assistant director or producer all his career. It seems he took over when original director Tombleson (whom I mentioned also wrote the script) was taken off the movie as the result of a personality clash with McGoohan. It's quite possible that this allowed Decaë and McGoohan to take up the reins, though that's pure speculation on my part.

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