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The Hit

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The Hit starts in a dreary council estate in London, where a mobster, Willy Parker (played by a brilliantly low-key Terence Stamp), is about to grass on his partners and plea-bargain his way into an easy life. Ten years later, the movie cuts to Spain, where he's living the life of Riley in a beautiful old fortified town. And that's the location of interest for our Movie Atlas.

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The movie spends its entire time thereafter in Spain, wandering its cities and highways, as Willy's idyll is cut short by vengeful comrades (a deliciously sinister John Hurt and a swaggering young Tim Roth). The two are bent on delivering Willy to their boss in Paris (and his intended death), and thus their road trip starts.

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It's a road trip worthy of (but pre-dating) Tarantino, with criminal twists and turns set against dazzling backdrops – dusty highways peppered with white windmills, sleepy roadside cantinas, desolate gas stations, as well as the monuments, highrises and streets of Madrid. That's their first stop, at an elegant white apartment overlooking the city (below).

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They leave a trail of death and destruction behind them, as they career through the Spanish countryside. 'This country goes on and on forever, dunnit?' says Roth's character, as they drive past hilltop castle after hilltop castle. 'There's another one. How comes they've got so many castles, then?'

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'It's the route of the invaders,' says Willy. 'They came through these mountains – Romans, Gauls, Napolean, the pass of Ronceval.' Marauders, past and present.

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The dust settles as the characters find themselves at the Monasterio de Piedra in Nuévalos, near Zaragoza. It's an idyllic setting, beside a river and waterfall – and things start to fall apart. The movie weaves to a finish through the Spanish mountains and culminates in a stony village, as Hurt's character attempts to escape the country.

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The Hit is a very watchable black comedy/thriller, with an interesting philosophical spin on the meaning of life. It also features an Eric Clapton and Paco de Lucia soundtrack, which can't be bad. Highly recommended. – Roshan McArthur

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