Hits the funny bone

Issue 

Wild TargetCommences in Sydney Oct 19
Verona Cinema, Paddington & Cremorne Orpheum
Reviewed by Margaret Allan
A film has to be pretty funny to make me laugh out loud rather than quietly chuckle, and Wild Target has what it takes. It is equally unusual to hear applause at the end of a screening, but that was the response to this debut feature film from French director Pierre Salvadori. Rarely has the story of a professional hit-man been so damn amusing. Salvadori, who also wrote the original screenplay for this film, has excelled himself. Wild Target is about a hired assassin who accidentally takes on an young apprentice and becomes unable to carry out his next assignment, the annihilation of Renee, a young con artist specialising in art forgery. Jean Rochefort (The Hairdresser's Husband) is perfectly cast as the obsessively ordered killer, Victor Meynard, whose structured, solitary life is interrupted by Antoine and Renee. Meynard, happily unmarried, teaches himself English during assassinations, and after hours carefully tends to his bonsai and meticulously neat house and garden. Meynard has inherited the family assassination business from his parents. His father, now deceased, gave him his first pistol at the age of eight; his mother, although wheelchair bound, still packs a mean .45, practicing her craft on victims at the retirement village. Guillaume Depardieu (son of Gerard) plays Antoine, the apprentice Victor Meynard decides to train as his successor rather than kill when Antoine witnesses his last job. Renee (Marie Trintignant) is the next assignment, but Meynard finds that his admiration for her and her illegal exploits diminishes his ability to murder her. The three team up against the people who want Renee dead and this leads to some very funny situations. Wild Target is very cleverly written and directed, the extremely black humour evident in both the dialogue and the visual gags, all of which are perfectly timed. The unpredictability and freshness of the humour and storyline, which although occasionally corny, is never cliched, are extremely enjoyable. It's comic quality, consistent through the entire film, makes it easy to forget that the main character has quite an anti-social profession. Even if you usually find subtitled films difficult to watch, make an effort to go and see Wild Target.

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