In the Dark

A Good Hitman Is Not So Hard to Find

Assassination Tango 
Produced by American Zoetrope and Butchers’ Run Films
Written and directed by Robert Duvall
Distributed by MGM and United Artists

Phone Booth
Produced by Fox 2000 Pictures
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Screenplay by Larry Cohen
Distributed by 20th Century Fox 

Are good hitmen really hard to find? Not if you go to the movies.  There, you’ll discover professional killers are among our noblest citizens.  They are invariably sensitive to the pitiable weaknesses of human nature and are ever striving to correct them, whether it’s with a few thoughtful words concerning our common mortality or, more simply, a quick, efficient rubout.

Generally speaking, your self-respecting hitman either holds an advanced degree in moral philosophy or is taking night classes toward one.  Whenever he comes upon a defenseless woman or child, he never fails to step in and do all he can to ensure a sunnier future for such unfortunates.  And God help anyone who gets in the way of his benevolence.  If you’ve not found a genuine hitman yet, don’t worry.  You’ll know him on sight.  He’ll look like Michael Caine, Robert De Niro, John Cusack, or  Robert Duvall—flinty-faced but really charming.

Two recent films, Assassination...

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