John Woo, the legendary director of The Killer, Hard Boiled and Face/Off has rightly professed his love for David Mackenzie’s 2016 thriller, Hell Or High Water. What impeccable taste.
As is customary these days, a respected outlet has published a fascinating, in-depth interview with a respected filmmaker, and the rest of the internet has zeroed in on the bit where they glancingly talk about Marvel films.
Such is the case with the legendary John Woo, who changed action movies forever with such Hong Kong thrillers as The Killer and Hard Boiled, before moving to Hollywood with the likes of Hard Target, Face/Off and Mission: Impossible 2.
The New Yorker caught up with Mr Woo just as he unleashes his latest film, the great-sounding Christmas thriller Silent Night, in which Joel Kinnaman plays a grieving father on a festive revenge mission. Incredibly, it’s Woo’s first in 20 years. To mark the occasion, the veteran director talks candidly about his life and career, from his Christian upbringing, terrifying-sounding brushes with gangs, and eventual breakthrough as a filmmaker.
During that conversation, interviewer Simon Abrams asked Woo what other action movies he liked. Woo’s response was an interesting one: David Mackenzie’s 2016 drama-thriller, Hell Or High Water.
“I really love Hell Or High Water,” Woo said. “Good performances, good action. It feels like a tragedy. Great cinematography, too. I tried to get its director of photography, Giles Nuttgens, to shoot Silent Night, but he wasn’t available.”
By pure coincidence, we wrote about Hell Or High Water on this very site only a couple of weeks ago – “one of the great thrillers of the past decade,” was how we summed it up.
Oh, and then there’s the line lots of other sites have picked up on. When asked about superhero movies, Woo responded, “I’ve never liked watching movies with big special effects, or anything based on comic books. I prefer Martin Scorsese’s movies, that kind of cinema.”
If you read the rest of the interview, Woo affection for Scorsese is hardly surprising; Woo says that Bullet In The Head (1990) was an homage to the Italian-American director – specifically Mean Streets. The whole profile’s a brilliant one, and well worth reading in full.
Silent Night is out in US cinemas on 1st December. If and when it gets a UK release date, we’ll pass it along.