Alex, a hit man, tries to get out of the family business, but his father won't let him do so. While seeking the help of a therapist, he meets a sexually charged 23-year-old woman with whom he falls in love.
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Alex, a sad-eyed mournful man, goes into psychotherapy: he discloses he's a hit man. He also tells the doctor, after a few sessions, that he's attracted to a young woman he's met in the waiting room. She's Sarah, 23, quick, edgy, and perhaps attracted to him as well. But he's married, the dutiful father of a young precocious boy, so Sarah brushes him off. In flashbacks we see him get his start as a killer, at his father's prompting: it's the family business. Dad gives Alex his next assignment: to kill the therapist. Alex keeps returning to Sarah, calling her, stopping by her apartment, as he decides what to do about the hit, his father, his marriage, and his malaise. Written by
[Alex has shown up at her doorstep]
What do you want?
And then?... Then? After you have me, what then?
I don't know.
You don't know much, do ya'?
No, I guess not.
So your plan is, you have me, you ravish me, you bury your pathetic middle-aged pain in me, and then you say thanks... or maybe you don't... and you leave, and I never see you again? Or, I see you again and again, because I make you feel better, and you can't stand not feeling better. Either way, you finally get your shit together...
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I recently caught up with this little gem of a film on cable. It took me by surprise, even though, I should have expected it from the team involved with this movie.
Henry Bromwell directed this film with a sure hand, and it shows. One always wonders about the secret life of hit killers. One doesn't have to go too far to realize they probably are one's own neighbors, or social acquaintances, or even friends; they're no different from us, at least on the surface.
In this story, the grandfather, is a despicable character who does not hesitate in eliminating anyone for the right price. He has no scruples in teaching the ropes to his own son, and even to the grandson!
Alex, is a man living in turmoil. He knows what he has done in the past and suddenly is coming to realize the consequence of his actions. He has to see someone to help him find peace with himself. In going to Dr. Parks, he is trying to find absolution, although, he doesn't find it there. On the contrary, there is a dramatic twist when Alex learns about who is supposed to kill next.
Alex, brilliantly portrayed by William H. Macy, mesmerizes us. Not only is he a fantastic actor, but he makes us believe he is that man. One of the best things in the movie is the late John Ritter. He is equally convincing as Dr. Parks, the man who unravels the mystery.
Donald Sutherland, as the grandfather is perfect. He is a natural actor in everything he does. Neve Campbell surprised in her pivotal role of Sarah. She shows a capability and range that are incredible. Tracey Ullman is Martha, the suffering wife, and she doesn't get to do much. Also Barbara Bain, in a rare appearance, is the grandmother from hell. David Dorfman, is a delight in the film. He shows a maturity beyond his years.
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