I recently watched Wild Target, which is a total trifle featuring Bill Nighy as Victor Maynard, a repressed assassin, Rupert Grint as his surprisingly plausible son, Emily Blunt as a manic pixie kleptomaniac, and the world’s most fun-looking birthday party:
The movie isn’t particularly notable, but I appreciate the way it separates out proficiency at sex and violence. What makes Victor extremely good at killing people efficiently and with a minimum of mess is his extreme control. He lives in a house with plastic covers on the furniture, wears identical and impeccable suits, and his mother scrap-books his scores. When he and Blunt’s wildly disruptive character finally make a love connection, it’s in the form of him carrying her to bed out of the mess of the party. In as much as action movies have articulated ideas about masculinity, they often assume that the ability to wreak havoc and the ability to make love are, if not directly related, correlated. It’s nice to see something that makes the obvious point that while both are physical skills, they come from very different places.