I have never seen a John Woo film before. I am not a huge fan of action films, let alone the international ones that date back as classics. I took the HIFF opportunity as a chance to branch outside my comfort zone and view a well raved about film, The Killers. The production value really shows amongst the elaborate Asian sets and glorious stunts. They inform the high paced drama as the characters fight for their lives and their love.
I was taken by the order of storytelling that commenced in the film. The audience is first introduced to the main character’s past and his love interests’ run in with peril when she loses her sight. Their dynamic is renewed when he spots her singing at a local bar. It took me awhile to piece together that Jeffery is the hired hitman that cost this woman her sight.
Throughout the film we see his character change, as he attempts to retire from his former employer and team up with Inspector Lee to confront the gangsters from his past with intentions of murdering him. Although they are foes at first the dangerous gun fights they go through bring them closer together in a drama for the ages.
What made this HIFF viewing the biggest treat, was the appearance and talk back from creator, director, and film legend, John Woo at the end of the screening. He talked about the distinction between this and the other films he has directed, like Hard Boiled. The two both inform his love for action based thrillers juggling multiple storylines.
When asked about his advice for young film students and filmmakers alike, he responded, “Just do it” This phrase, popularly coined by Nike sparked productive creativity amongst the audience. He mentioned how we now have devices with multiple modes of recording and video capturing, and that there should be no excuse to create with the tools at our fingertips. I left the theater feeling very confident and renewed on my path of filmmaking. The Killers encouraged me to stem outside my genre comfort zone and get brainstorming for my next project. I look forward to turning to classic films by John Woo for further context and inspiration.