Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jonathan Lynn|
|Produced by||Martin Pope
|Written by||Lucinda Coxon|
|Music by||Michael Price|
|Edited by||Michael Parker|
|Distributed by||Vue Entertainment
|Box office||£3.5 million|
Wild Target is a 2010 black comedy film, directed by Jonathan Lynn. It is based on the 1993 French film Cible émouvante. Lucinda Coxon wrote the screenplay, and it was produced by Martin Pope and Michael Rose.
Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) is an experienced and efficient assassin living a lonely life in accordance with his family's business. Victor follows a family line of professional assassins, and he completes his assignments quickly and without remorse. One afternoon, after killing one of his targets, he hesitates in killing the pet parrot, Roger, and instead takes him as a gift to his mother, Louisa (Eileen Atkins) an intimidating woman who was, until recently, also Victor's housemate. In celebration of his 55th birthday, she gives him a leather bound book with newspaper clippings of each of his kills from his first to his most recent, leaving pages for future hits to be included. She also expresses concern that he might be homosexual, wondering why he hasn't produced a successor.
Rose (Emily Blunt) is a not-so-average girl with a talent for thievery. Her most recent theft involves the sale of a fake Rembrandt painting (painted by her friend in the Restoration Department of the National Gallery) to Ferguson (Rupert Everett), managing to swindle him out of £900,000. Ferguson soon discovers the swap and hires the best hitman, Victor Maynard, to dispose of her. Victor takes the case and immediately tracks Rose down, missing several opportunities to kill her, and accidentally killing a random stall customer in a changing room. He follows her to a balcony opposite her hotel room and tries to shoot her through the window, but is interrupted by the arrival of the front doorman. Victor sets up a microphone and headset to keep her under surveillance, but falls asleep, unable to listen to their noisy lovemaking. He wakes the following morning, just as she is leaving. He has the opportunity to shoot but pauses.
His mother, Louisa, is disappointed by this missed target (and has apparently killed Roger with a knitting needle) and suggests that Victor apologize to his employer and offer to do the hit for free. He tracks Rose down in a parking garage where he sees another hitman ready to kill her. He takes the preemptive shot, killing the other assassin. He and Rose get into her car, only to be forced out again by Mike (Gregor Fisher), another assassin hiding in the back seat of her Mini. Mike throws Victor's gun away and lines them up on the wall to be shot and killed, but instead is wounded by Tony (Rupert Grint), an apparently homeless young man who had picked up the dead man's gun. Saying it was his first time handling a firearm, he impresses Victor enough to consider a protégé. But he sends Tony home and Victor and Rose flee. Mike starts firing at them and they nearly run over Tony on his way out of the garage, forcing him to join the ride. Rose offers Victor his price of £30,000 a week for her protection, believing that he is merely a private detective. They travel to a luxury hotel where they can lay low, but by chance get a room on the same floor as Ferguson. Ferguson hires Dixon (Martin Freeman), reputed to be second only to Maynard in proficiency, to kill Rose and Maynard. After several close calls, Mike, who is also Ferguson's bodyguard, discovers their whereabouts when he spots a pair of boots that Rose had stolen from his dead partner. Tony is ambushed in the bathroom and nearly drowned in the bathtub by Mike, but he turns the tables and accidentally shoots Mike's ear off before the three of them escape the hotel. Ferguson and Mike pursue them in a high-speed chase through the streets of London until Mike loses control and crashes the car, sending the pair to the hospital.
They travel to Maynard's home, an exclusive farm deep in the countryside, where his furniture is shrink-wrapped and his cat, Snowy, resides with him. Maynard takes Tony on as his apprentice in "private detective" work. One night (after a sensual foot-massage between Victor and Rose), Rose is attacked by Louisa (Victor's mother), who had come back to the house to finish what her son had started. He eventually talks her down and after she leaves, the three of them work on becoming friends. Rose and Tony help Victor celebrate his birthday, and, after a brief period of sexual confusion between Tony and Maynard, Victor falls in love with and sleeps with Rose. Afterwards, his attitude becomes more friendly, and Victor peels off the plastic coverings on all of his furniture and opens up the house. Meanwhile, Rose looks around Victor's room, finding the leather book that his mother had given him and learning that she was actually his target for assassination. She also finds Victor's father's first gun, a Broomhandle Mauser, and steals it for protection. She runs out of the house after making it clear that she trusts neither Victor nor Tony, and returns to the National Gallery, only to find her friend dead and Dixon and his assistant, Fabian (Geoff Bell), waiting for her. They quickly return to Victor's home, and Tony and Victor gain the upper hand when Louisa appears, killing Fabian with a machine gun. Dixon withdraws the old gun Rose had taken from Victor's room and fires at Victor. It backfires, sending the bolt into his skull. Victor, Tony and Rose bury the pair in the back yard and return to their lives.
Three years later, Victor and Rose are married with a son named Angel and Tony has moved in with them. While Angel is playing one morning, Tony comes outside asking Victor and Rose where the cat had gone off to. They look at Angel in awe as he is innocently patting soft dirt into the yard, suggesting he killed and buried the cat. Victor smiles with pride.
- Bill Nighy as Victor Maynard: A middle aged hit man who is hired by Ferguson to kill Rose after she cons Ferguson out of £1,000,000. After purposely missing an opportunity to shoot Rose, Ferguson sends his henchmen to do the deed. Victor kills one henchman and injures another when he is looking for Rose and, concealing his true profession, helps her escape with the help of local slacker, Tony. He adopts Tony as his apprentice and Victor realizes he's fallen in love with Rose.
- Emily Blunt as Rose: A confident con artist who oversteps the mark when she cons Ferguson out of £1,000,000 and leaves him with a convincing copy of a Rembrandt self-portrait. Realizing the danger she is in, she stays with Victor and Tony in an attempt to escape her attempted assassination. Her adventurous lifestyle takes a turn when she realizes her enjoyment of Victor's company.
- Rupert Grint as Tony: A young man who witnesses Victor shooting Ferguson's bodyguard and decides to stay with Victor for safety. Victor employs him as an apprentice (with Tony thinking Victor is a private detective and later, upon learning Victor is a hit man, taking it in stride) and he soon realizes he has a 'killer instinct'.
- Eileen Atkins as Louisa Maynard: Victor's intimidating mother who, while impressed with his profession, is concerned as to what will happen to the family business.
- Rupert Everett as Ferguson: A London gangster who hires Victor to kill Rose.
- Martin Freeman as Hector Dixon: A sadistic assassin who plays second-fiddle to Victor Maynard. While influenced by Victor, Dixon jumps at the opportunity given to him by Ferguson to dispose of the greatest hit-man ever known.
- Gregor Fisher as Mike: Ferguson's incompetent henchman whose several attempts to kill Victor, Rose, and Tony leave him in hospital ... and with one ear.
- Geoff Bell as Fabian: Dixon's dull-witted partner.
Wild Target was met with a largely mixed and negative critical reception, with Timeout London only giving it two out of five stars, saying that it feels like nothing has been "thought through." The verdict given by Empire online is equally negative; it says that the "talented cast keep some low-key action and tired gags from derailing this disappointing farce". Flick Filosopher enjoyed the film, saying "Movies hardly ever make me laugh out loud, but this one did, more than once, with its unpredictable twists... and unexpected punchlines growing out of the deliciously twisted characters". The film aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a critics score of 32% and an audience score of 56%.
- CinemaNX boards trio Variety.com. Retrieved on 4 September 2008.
- Jonathan Lynn's official website Retrieved on 4 September 2008.
- Crook, Simon. "Wild Target (12A)", Empire online, September 2010
- Wild Target at Rotten Tomatoes