Re: RARA-AVIS: Killshot

Date: 11 Jun 2009

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    I've still the movie to look forward to, but the best part of the book, to me, was the first chapter, which could be read as a stand-alone short story. I was initially grabbed, as you might expect, by the opening scene, which Greg Gatenby, past-director of Toronto's International Festival of Authors claims to have inspired when Leonard was a guest performer there.

    Descriptive scene-setting, which Leonard has often suggested is not his skill, is economically achieved with the detail of the map-cracked ceiling in a room of the old Spadina Avenue landmark hotel, effectively pin-pointing not only the location for many Canadian readers, but the type of characters one might expect to find there. The probability that one or more of them would have been Native American is a sad cultural truth in most of our cities.

    A later scene set on Walpole Island also impressed. The image of a huge laker cargo ship coursing a Seaway channel so narrow it appears to be floating majestically through the fields, is one I believe I encountered years ago reading Killshot, and was recalled most recently (until now) when I watched a documentary about the Ojibwa natives dealing with existence-threatening pollution from chemical plants to whom they had sold some of their reserve lands in nearby Sarnia, Ontario.

    The rest of the book, the conflict between the contract killer and the whomevers, I can only recall enough to ask if it might be characterized in any way as a cultural clash.

    Best, Kerry

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: zbleck
      Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 12:24 PM
      Subject: RARA-AVIS: Killshot

      Moved Killshot to the top of my queue based on comments here...

      have to say, I was disappointed. It was a dreary, sordid & listless movie--and not in a good way. I've read the Leonard book, and it followed the plot pretty well--as someone here mentioned, it's fairly simple, so ideal for film.

      the most damaging change from the book was the relationship of the Colsons--in the book it was the strength of their relationship that allowed them to beat the baddies--in the film they were separated & childless. There was only edginess and stress in their interactions--no teamwork, or connection.

      There was an additional thread in the novel about an inept and sexually predatory Marshall who was in charge when they were in Witness Protection that added to the sense of jeopardy--too bad this was missing in the film.

      I don't think the casting was great--but it could have been direction or editing that killed this film--watching, I had the feeling that the director was just getting through the story rather than pulling the viewer in, involving the audience in the story--I really didn't care much for or about the Colsons in the film, so there wasn't a whole lot of suspense.


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