Tag Archive for 'Jean-Pierre Léaud'

I Hired a Contract Killer (1990)


Aki Kaurismäki, like all true film auteurs, creates worlds. Not in the sci-fi fantasy sense — though, I am not excluding sci-fi, merely broadening the concept — but in the subjective sense. Like Jarmusch, Fassbinder and Lynch, you get a feeling while watching a Kaurismäki movie that you are watching something highly personal. And so it goes with his odd and amusing love story, I Hired a Contract Killer, about a man who wants to kill himself but reconsiders after falling in love.

Roll your eyes and say you’ve seen that kind of movie before, but with Kaurismäki at the helm you get something genuinely touching, without forced pathos, incidental-music, or faux-inspirational endings. Starring Jean-Pierre Léaud, the French nouvelle vague star of such movies as American Night and 400 blows, IHCK moves us from Kaurismäki’s usual film location in Helsinki to London. Like the down-and-out squalor of Kaurismäki’s working class neighborhoods in Helsinki, the London depicted here isn’t the refined upper-class cosmopolis depicted in Woody Allen’s latest movies, rather it’s a drab, trash-strewn working class London full of thugs and hard-drinking wage slaves.

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