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The Last Place You Look: "Diary of a Hitman"

23 January 2012 5:31 AM, PST | MUBI | See recent MUBI news »

The cinephile's gaze has long appreciated the smaller, modest beauties of old films.  (Not even "authored" films: I mean the beauties of the chaff as well as the wheat.)  Yet the disposable, omnipresent, generic films of our more recent past are slowly seeping into historical perspective as well.  What if a person were given a copy of The American Cinema and a discard box of VHS tapes, and simply told to work things out from there?  What could we find by looking at these films and according their significant elements their tiny, absent fanfare?

Diary of a Hitman (Roy London, 1991)

Like a cross between Boiling Point (James B. Harris, 1990) and What Happened Was... (Tom Noonan, 1994), Diary of a Hitman constructs a scenario of generic neo-noir and talky, stagey, emotionally voluble interpersonal exchanges. The film is strange but not quirky, humble yet probing. Few movies have seemed to be such appropriate platforms for Whitaker's whispery, »

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