Dusk for a Hitman

Dusk for a Hitman

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“Dusk for a Hitman” is like a shell of a great film. Director Raymond St-Jean has created a main character, who through a skillful execution of the dark mood that can be detected in an actor’s age worn script, is stronger by the mere fact that it’s just an artfully staged scene. In it contract killings are carried out with cold efficiency and continual negotiations of loyalty and little else. But Lavoie and his fractured inner life as well as the cutthroat world he inhabits fall under the film’s incuriosity marks to restrict this kind of menacing story about characters rendering “Dusk for a Hitman” only serviceable.

Mostly taking place over the course of year, “Dusk for a Hitman” begins in Fall 1979. Lavoie (Éric Bruneau), behind the wheel of his sleek caramel-colored Cadillac, is driving down a country road with a new, nervous partner. After screwing up on their first job, Claude Dubois (Benoît Gouin) assigns him to Lavoie as his new sidekick. So Lavoie agrees to go along with him on this one; he was sent there purposely to kill him. “Now that you have to assist me, you will realize how easy it is to kill somebody,” said Lavoie with irony in his tone. They invaded their target hideout where they shot him inside an outhouse. That counted half way since seconds later, he killed his accomplice before anyone would notice.

Lavoie is DuBois’ best hit man ever hired by him if you judge by how many persons got killed because of them back at Montreal where in fact brother was mobster boss—reason why this movie eliminates other sibling’. Besides being paid for murders done,Lavoie also collects money and enforces debts.Dubois trusts Lavoieso much that even if he is taken hostage the crime boss would direct him to his hidden wealth. Despite the tight connection between employer and employee, this organization has little else to reveal about itself than what St-Jean and Martin Girard have provided. Thus, when someone speaks of Lavoie’s background or personal thoughts one should not think about Goodfellas in terms of Henry Hill. That does not necessarily have to be a negative thing. I think it was done on purpose: by eliminating rats or screw-ups as quickly as possible Dubois doesn’t give time for people to get acquainted with them. At the same time, I can’t help but feel more world-building could have happened: What’s Dubois’ territory, and how does his business hum?

Similarly, Lavoie’s family life is equally somewhat underdeveloped. His wife Francine (Rose-Marie Perreault) is so basic she might as well be nonexistent.His young daughter may not even be named for all I know. Mostly he calls her kid.Like Martin Scorsese did with Anna Paquin’s character in “The Irishman.” Lavoie is too busy killing people, snorting coke or counting dollars that he barely recognizes his own kin as people worth knowing at all. Nevertheless there are only two very brief scenes featuring his daughter in the second part of the film when Lavoie’s motivations change towards defending family.This kind of emptiness eventually becomes less like a glimpse into the character and more like an undone thread you’ve dropped off somewhere along your way through life .

With all of his brother’s failings, Lavoie still has a troubled relationship with him. In their lives, cancer-stricken father who is not seen is haunting them to the extent that when he mentions his father, Lavoie sneers. Nonetheless, it is just an idea of heartache perpetually promised and never fulfilled. 

The compositions in “Dusk for a Hitman” are pretty normal (Bruneau consistently centers his shots), and the score also sounds like raggedly heavy guitars heard in almost every action film or crime thriller one watches. But they work simply because it is a film about emotionless murderer whose soul has become so darkened that he can hardly recognize himself anymore. Still there are times when some deep-deep focus ratchets up atmosphere despite mostly static lensing. You know Dubois will whack him when Lavoie gets out of jail as a result of sharp visual language used here. St-Jean and DP Jean-François Lord  play against such expectations. There are some straightforward blocking keeps the third gangster within view during the interrogation while the other hired guns stand just behind Lavoie, contemplating.

St-Jean very lucky with Bruneau.It can be felt how much Bruneau has to work with.Restive yet motionless as if waiting for something and then becoming dynamic at once during killing spree till being coked up.Bruneau quietly allows us to enter even if we are distanced from his character by script.The rivalry between Detective Burns (Sylvain Marcel) and Lavoie which is later transformed beyond imagination does not add up until we get into Lavoie’s deepest pain thanks to Bruneau.Besides, this argument can be justified by underscoring less known love depicted by Lavoie towards his family.Although it makes you realize how magnificent “Dusk for a Hitman” could have been had it been polished up a bit, Bruneau also lets you accept that St-Jean’s crime feature is just one more good piece of its kind.

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