John Boorman directs Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson and John Vernon in this classic thriller where a left-for-dead career criminal stalks the partner, the wife and the organisation who have his $93,000.
Richard Stark’s The Hunter is one of my favourite novels. A focussed, resourceful and amoral individual taking down a syndicate that is too big to fail. It is the template for a fantastic thriller and has had many incarnations over the years. Mel Gibson’s Payback is probably the most popular. Robert Duvall’s The Outfit is probably the most faithful adaptation, even though it is based in name on a different novel. But when I read a Parker novel, I see Lee Marvin. I see Lee Marvin marching like an invading army of one. I see Lee Marvin in his immaculate suits. I see Lee Marvin like a vengeful otherworld wraith that barely acknowledges his adversaries existence unless he is killing them or demanding what is his. Sure, the artier aspects of Boorman’s direction befuddle the purity a little bit. This 80% pure Siegel or Fuller, 20% Swinging Sixties mustard. Those elliptical flashbacks and allusions to the supernatural are cream for critics but sour for those of us who just want to see a brutal man take down the suits. Three last words: Angie Dickinson – smoking!
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