Based on Jim Thompson's 'A Swell Looking Babe', 'Hit Me' is about a bellhop - Sonny - getting involved in a scheme to steal $500,000 from high-end, illegal poker players. The swell looking babe is a French girl, Monique, and Sonny thinks his share of the money will allow him to start a new life with her. That isn't going to come easily. Monique is unreliable, hooked up with the criminals, and has suicidal tendencies. The path of love never does run smooth, does it? As in the book, Sonny is an interesting character, fuelled by three elements - his love of Monique, his hatred of his job, and his refusal to accept help to care for his disabled brother, Leroy. Sonny is over his head in it all, and once the heist goes pear-shaped, he's frantically scraping around to try a make it clear.
Elias Kotsas does a decent job playing Sonny. He looks a lot like Robert De Niro and effectively gets across one of De Niro's big skills
playing desperate psychosis. At times this can veer into comedy, and
it's unclear whether this is always intentional. Kotsas acts emotions very physically - mock-humping the air before he goes into Monique's room and pepping himself up by jumping through four different positions before meeting the main poker player.
As in Thompson's novels, 'Hit Me' presents a world where no character can be trusted. Even the "good guy" - Sonny - is as shady and money grabbing as the rest, at one stage happily considering becoming a cocaine dealer. It's film noir taken to its limits... not in terms of visual style but in terms of characterisation.
Stacked up against the beautiful economy of Mamet's 'Heist' or Tarantino's 'Reservoir Dogs', 'Hit Me' does drag a little and doesn't have quite enough twists and turns to merit lasting over two hours. And, whilst shot cleanly and effectively, it lacks cinematic impact. However, there's a nice undercurrent of philosophising over the nature of survival and, whether you're a Thompson fan or not, you could do worse than checking out this interesting little movie.
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