Matthew McConaughey has made an eye-catching statement of intent with his slimy turn in Killer Joe, suggesting he’s more than just a square jaw and a chiselled torso. Until next week, of course, when Magic Mike reaches these shores and his chiselled torso once again takes centre stage.
Hollywood likes the occasional twisted murderer, but Killer Joe breaks the mould and adds some colour and controversy. McConaughey’s corrupt cop is a far cry from the more run-of-the-mill Movie Assassins who tend to tread a fine line between inducing yawns and thrills in the multiplex. Still, the humble CIA dogsbody assassin is big business and has his (and occasionally her) own unique traits that somehow never tire us.
Leon may be a distant memory but with The Bourne Legacy gearing up for world domination and Bond himself returning later this year after a forced hiatus, spy agencies throughout Movie Land are going to need to launch their recruitment drives. After all, every hero needs a legion of anonymous Movie Assassins to beat up in a brutal and completely bloodless – and therefore technically teen-friendly – punch-up.
The recruitment drive itself will take place in a secluded office after hours, with a Movie Spy Boss scowling at his pasty-skinned Spy Agency Subordinate. Spy Boss leans back on his expensive reclining office chair and dictates to the Subordinate, whose face is lit only by the faint glow of his spy laptop. He’s haunted by the knowledge that even recruiting Movie Assassins is Deeply Illegal and punishable by Horrific Movie Death.
“Movie Assassin needed for crucial villain role in potential new franchise,” Movie Spy Boss begins: “You should be emotionally unavailable and very good at scowling. Self-motivation is critical. There won’t be a lot of personal contact with Management and when you do meet up it’ll be for fleeting monosyllabic exchanges – or maybe just a scowl – with evil-looking authority figures that would sooner kill you than discuss career options over a cappuccino. In fact, we might actually just kill you, so, y’know, you should probably be aware of that.
“Familiarity with social media is essential. Ownership of a flip-phone is more desirable than one of the more popular smart phones because they look slightly more cinematic and make a satisfying ‘click’ when you open them. This will also be a good moment for ill-prepared applicants to practice scowling. You know, when we send you information.
“Global travel at short notice is to be expected and tolerance of bland yet luxurious hotel rooms is a must. Having the ability to move, ghost-like, within a few feet of targets would be really great. GSOH is not entirely necessary, although a certain gallows humour and the occasional witty one-liner could prove handy.
“Experience with firearms is essential – obviously – especially automatic weapons that come packaged in lots of little pieces that can be fitted together incredibly quickly with lots of satisfying ‘clacks’. Producing satisfying clacks is a vital part of the job and will be tested at the interview stage. Making your own clacking sound effects is an optional alternative in a This-Feels-Ridiculous-But-Shows-True-Initiative kind of way.
“A willingness to be a part of shadowy mind control experiments is highly desirable. Off-the-map, performance-enhancing stuff that frequently goes wrong but we keep trying it anyway because the law of averages suggests someday something positive will happen.
“Perhaps most importantly, applicants should remember that being a Movie Assassin working for our Movie Spy Agency is a Cool Job. Sure you take lives on a whim and lack social skills, but otherwise you’ll be inexplicably well-adjusted, good-looking in a bland sort of way and your girlfriends will have supermodel looks while being perennial underachievers.”
Movie Spy Boss breathes a sigh of relief as his nervous Subordinate clicks ‘send’. The stress of another recruitment drive successfully launched lifts from his shoulders as he anticipates another influx of applications from traumatised, cold-hearted, anti-social goons who can handle themselves in a fight but rarely shave.
He turns to his Subordinate: “Now to celebrate: Office Olympics!”