Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The hit-man and the mark - a meeting

Actor Jason Miller, Photo by Paul Campbell, Used with courtesy of Jason Miller

In the after effects of my Bond emotions, I began to think about a scene with a hit-man and his mark.

In all such scenes I can remember, the mark has done their best to fight back, physically or verbally. It is just when there is no other option than getting killed that the mark, maybe, somewhat, settles with his or her fate.

But what if the mark has a gun too, and could have the option of make a try and shoot the hit-man, but doesn’t, because this person believes in her heart that killing is wrong and she can’t justify killing somebody else to save herself?

So you have a hit-man facing a mark that drops her gun and more or less says “go ahead and kill me”. What kind of emotional impact would this have on the hit-man, a professional hit-man, like Bond, or Leon, or Robert Rath in the Assassins?

Now, the interesting thing is that all three mentioned above are expressed as heroes, in one way or another. We get emotionally connected to these characters. So, of course, in a movie, such a kill wouldn’t take place – then we have lost any possible hero.

But never the less, it’s not likely that Bond lowers his gun and says “oh, sod off, I can’t kill you now” and goes home.

This is how I wrote the scene:

"A" walks into the room. "B" awaits her, sitting in a chair by the wall, gun in hand.

Their eyes meet.

I can't say I want to die.

"A" brings out a gun from the back of her jeans, very slowly.

But you won't have any problems with me.

She throws the gun down on the floor towards "B".

If somebody is going to die, I don't
want it to be me doing the killing.

She grabs the back of a chair, holding tight, looking the other way.

Just be quick about it, will you.

"B" raises the gun.

A's eyes see something.

No, C! NO!

"B" spins around, ducking for the baseball bat being swung at him. "A" leaps in between them, facing her brother.

No, C!

Are you insane? He was going to kill you.

And you, if you don't get out of here.

I won't just stand here and let him kill you.

"C" points with the bat only to find he is pointing to an empty space. "B" is no longer there. He is gone.

You may ask why she carries a gun if she isn’t interested in killing. You can threat with a gun – quite useless in this case; you can shoot in a leg or an arm – also pointless in this case. If she thinks that someone wants her life she may very well have a gun as an attempt to save herself, without killing. But if she wants to save her life in this scene, waving with a gun will do no good.

My thoughts about the scene:

I find it interesting how little that is written about the hit-man. There are two major points here: they get eye contact, which means they communicate, and he does aim his gun at her. What ever emotions he shows or doesn’t show are not important for the scene to work.

Then look at her. She grabs the back of a chair with a grip that probably makes her knuckles go white, so she is truly scared, she doesn’t want to die, but she is not surprised facing a hit-man in her room, considering she knew what it was all about seeing the gun and by the eye-contact. She knows that what she did – what ever it was - could cause this situation. And she doesn’t believe that killing is right, including her killing in self defence.

Now the brother steps in. She puts herself between them, facing her brother, like she protects her killer from her brother instead of the other way around. But she wants to talk to her brother, getting him out. It’s no use facing the hit-man saying “alright, you’ve got a witness, but don’t kill him, please”.

In the photo: Jason Miller, one of my favourite actors.
Photo by Paul Campbell.
Photo used with courtesy of Jason Miller.
This photo was part of the inspiration for this scene.

Photo edited by the writer.