Just watched The Hit, a British movie about a gangster (Terence Stamp) that has been placed in a witness protection location in Spain since turning his mates in after a botched heist. Willie Parker, Stamp’s character, is rooted out by his old crime boss and is accosted to face the sinister judgment for his treachery. Apparently ready for death, he takes a nonchalant approach towards his capture. The film focuses on the journey Willie faces from northern Spain to Paris with a couple of hired hit men and a girl whose misfortune places her in the hands of the thugs. His captors, played by John Hurt and Tim Roth, experience complicated drama in the adventure. At one point, Parker and Mr. Braddock (Hurt’s character) have a moment of respite and Willie explains his philosophy on the inevitability of death. His words are:
death is just a stage in the journey
we’re all going to get there – no exceptions;
death is just a moment
we’re here, then we’re not here
we’re somewhere else…maybe;
it’s as natural as breathing
why should we be scared?
The part about death being just a moment is poignant. “We’re here, then we’re not here.” Even if the lead-up to death may take a long time for some, the reality is that there is just a brief moment when we cross from being and no longer being. Good scripting. Good movie philosophy. Maybe good life (and death) philosophy.
Terence Stamp (born 1938, London) is a Comics A-Go-Go! favorite. You may know him from the TV-series “Smallville” where he plays Jor-El (probably helped by the fact that he played General Zod in Superman (1978). We liked him as a gangster (again) in The Limey (1999) and as Chacellor Valorum in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace (also 1999). Terence is a veteran actor whose career began in 1962 with Billy Budd (1962) and gained moment in the 1970’s. He has has worked regularly and continues to act today.