Wild Target is a 2010 black comedy film directed by Jonathan Lynn and starring Bill Nighy, Emily Blunt, Rupert Grint, Eileen Atkins, Martin Freeman, and Rupert Everett.[4] It is based on the 1993 French film.[4] Lucinda Coxon wrote the screenplay,[4] and it was produced by Martin Pope and Michael Rose.[3]

Wild Target
Wild target poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJonathan Lynn
Written byLucinda Coxon
Produced byMartin Pope
Michael Rose
CinematographyDavid Johnson
Edited byMichael Parker
Music byMichael Price
Distributed byVue Entertainment
Freestyle Releasing[1]
Release dates
  • 8 April 2010 (2010-04-08) (Beaune Film Festival)
  • 18 June 2010 (2010-06-18) (United Kingdom)
  • 7 July 2010 (2010-07-07) (France)
Running time
98 minutes[2]
CountriesUnited Kingdom
Budget$8 million[3]
Box office$3.5 million

Production began shooting in London on 16 September 2008.[4] Filming also took place on the Isle of Man.[4]


Victor Maynard (Bill Nighy) is a reclusive hit-man perpetuating a family line of professional assassins. His father is deceased, but he operates under the constant watchful gaze of his domineering mother, Louisa (Eileen Atkins).

Rose (Emily Blunt) is an ingenious con artist, who manages to sell a fake Rembrandt, painted by her friend in the Restoration Department of the National Gallery, to Ferguson (Rupert Everett) for £900,000. Ferguson responds by hiring Victor to assassinate her. Victor takes the contract, but misses several opportunities to kill her, finally giving up the attempt entirely as he falls in love with his intended victim.

Thwarting another assassin's attempt to kill Rose, Victor encounters Tony (Rupert Grint), an apparently homeless young man, who is thrown into the already complex lives of Victor and Rose. For a while Victor mistakenly wonders if he is sexually attracted to Tony, but later adopts the young man as a protégé and apprentice in the assassination business.

Ferguson, still determined to have his revenge, hires Dixon (Martin Freeman), reputed to be second only to Victor Maynard in proficiency, to kill both Rose and Victor. The action moves from London to the Maynard family home deep in the English countryside, where the farce genre of the film becomes centrepiece, as Louisa Maynard returns to the house, and Dixon (with a henchman) also discovers the location.

The film closes with a brief cinematographic prolepsis to complete all the principle storylines in a single short scene.


  • Bill Nighy as Victor Maynard: A middle aged hit man who is hired by Ferguson to kill Rose after she cons Ferguson out of £900,000. After purposely missing an opportunity to shoot Rose, Ferguson sends his henchmen to do the deed. Victor kills one henchman and injures another when he is looking for Rose and, concealing his true profession, helps her escape with the help of local slacker, Tony. He adopts Tony as his apprentice and Victor realises he's fallen in love with Rose.
  • Emily Blunt as Rose: A confident con artist who oversteps the mark when she cons Ferguson out of £900,000 and leaves him with a convincing copy of a Rembrandt self-portrait. Realizing the danger she is in, she stays with Victor and Tony in an attempt to escape her attempted assassination. Her adventurous lifestyle takes a turn when she realises her enjoyment of Victor's company.
  • Rupert Grint as Tony: A young man who witnesses Victor shooting Ferguson's bodyguard and decides to stay with Victor for safety. Victor employs him as an apprentice (with Tony thinking Victor is a private detective and later, upon learning Victor is a hit man, taking it in stride) and he soon realizes he has a 'killer instinct'.
  • Eileen Atkins as Louisa Maynard: Victor's intimidating mother who, while impressed with his profession, is concerned as to what will happen to the family business.
  • Rupert Everett as Ferguson: A London gangster who hires Victor to kill Rose.
  • Martin Freeman as Hector Dixon: A sadistic assassin who plays second-fiddle to Victor Maynard. While influenced by Victor, Dixon jumps at the opportunity given to him by Ferguson to dispose of the greatest hit-man ever known.
  • Gregor Fisher as Mike: Ferguson's incompetent henchman whose several attempts to kill Victor, Rose, and Tony leave him in hospital with one ear.
  • Geoff Bell as Fabian: Dixon's dull-witted partner.


Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a critics score of 33% based on reviews from 55 critics, with an average score of 4.9/10. The site's critics' consensus reads "An ineptly staged farce that dishonors the original film and squanders the comedic potential of its fine actors."[5] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 41 out of 100, based on reviews from 13 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[6]

Timeout London only giving it two out of five stars, saying that it feels like nothing has been "thought through."[7] The verdict given by Empire online is equally negative; it says that the "talented cast keep some low-key action and tired gags from derailing this disappointing farce".[8]

Other critics enjoyed the film, with Flick Filosopher saying "Movies hardly ever make me laugh out loud, but this one did, more than once, with its unpredictable twists... and unexpected punchlines growing out of the deliciously twisted characters".[9]


  1. ^ "Wild Target". 29 October 2010.
  2. ^ "WILD TARGET - British Board of Film Classification". www.bbfc.co.uk.
  3. ^ a b CinemaNX boards trio Variety.com. Retrieved on 4 September 2008.
  4. ^ a b c d e Jonathan Lynn's official website Archived 7 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 4 September 2008.
  5. ^ "Wild Target". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 7 October 2021.  
  6. ^ "Wild Target". www.metacritic.com.
  7. ^ "Wild Target". www.timeout.com.
  8. ^ Crook, Simon. "Wild Target (12A)", Empire online, September 2010
  9. ^ Johanson, MaryAnn (30 November 2010). "Wild Target (review)". Flick Filosopher. Retrieved 27 December 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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