“ Genre: Television / Suitable for 18 years and over / Director: Hettie Macdonald, Sheree Folkson / Actors: Chloe Sevigny, Vincent Regan, Jonas Armstrong, Peter Wight ... / DVD released 2012-07-02 at Fremantle Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
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Hit and Miss is a series that was commissioned for Sky Atlantic and is available to buy on DVD.
This is a drama written by Paul Abbott whose writing credits include Shameless Clocking Off and State of Play.
Hit and Miss tells the story of Mia a transgender (male to female) contract killer who grew up in a travelling family.
The story starts when Mia discovers she has a son fathered by Wendy an ex who has terminal cancer and has named Mia as legal guardian of 11 year old Ryan.
Mia travels to the remote farm where Ryan lives with 16 year old Riley, Levi who is 15 and the baby of the family 6 year old Leonie. Riley has become Mum of the family and doesn't exactly welcome Mia with open arms.
They live on a remote farm set in a bleak landscape in Yorkshire and realise that they have to accept Mia albeit unwillingly or risk being split up as a family.
It isn't made totally clear how Mia became involved with Eddie who sets up the contracts for her, or who has fathered the other three children. Some elements do come out during the series but leave you wanting to know more.
The series shows us Mia's life as a contract killer , her relationship with Eddie , her attempts to become a mother to the children, fit in with village life and deal with her transgender issues. Whilst she clearly looks like and acts like a woman, Mia still has a penis and hasn't fully completed her transformation to female yet.
She doesn't get off to a great start with John the farmer who owns the property the family live in and who is also in a relationship with Riley - if you can call it that. He is a brute of a man who uses Riley for sex and sees Mia as a threat.
This is a 2 disc set which is described as Season 1 and contains 6 episodes with a run time of 266 minutes
I really hope there is a Season 2 as this was a superb drama. Although this hasn't been confirmed, don't be put off as this will stand as a series in its own right. Like all great series it leaves you wanting more.
Chloe Sevigny who plays Mia is absolutely mesmerising. This is a class performance and she is totally believable as a man who is in the process of transforming into a woman living in isolation in a deserted warehouse. I found the scenes where Mia is alone in the warehouse looking at her naked body incredibly uncomfortable but also moving. No conversation necessary.
She is also a very effective contract killer and the series shows her in action, but as she becomes more involved with the family, she starts to make mistakes.
One episode sees her in hospital, waking up on the men's ward and becoming distraught as the nurse insists she use the men's toilet.
All the way through this I worried about Mia being uncovered as a man or a killer, which given the risks she takes is almost every other scene.
The cast is superb in particular Karla Krome who plays Riley who you feel really deserves better than John, but like most things in Hit and Miss very little is revealed about how she got into the relationship. This leaves you wanting to know much more about every single character.
I didn't find anything predictable about Hit and Miss and had no idea where it was going. Even the seemingly undetectable contract killings that Mia commits are carried out in a different way each time , which although an act of murder you get the sense that she is ridding the world of lowlife.
Series like this don't come along very often and I was absolutely gripped from start to finish. I loved the way it was filmed, in parts the lingering shots of the landscape and periods of silence reminded me of Terence Davis films (Distant Voices Still Lives and Long day Closes) which some think are like watching paint dry. However this is also action packed, has scenes that are very sexually explicit, extremely violent, but at times show the wonder of childhood with the two younger kids. The boy who plays Ryan and some of his scenes reminded me of the boy in Whistle Down the Wind. Leonie the 6 year old is also a joy as she seems untouched by the death of her Mum as she sees her and regularly holds conversations with her.
The farmhouse is also quite a piece of work, clearly it has been some time since this was decorated and seems devoid of any mod cons plus has some seriosly retro wallpaper and soft furnishings.. In fact Riley contacts John on a CB radio.
Peter Wright plays Eddie, the gangster who clearly has a soft spot for Mia, but business always comes first and rather worryingly for Mia he starts to involve himself with the family and takes Levi under his wing.
Mia also meets and is attracted to Ben played by Jonas Armstrong.
I don't want to say too much about each episode and some of the characters as I think it give too much away. Be assured though that you won't have seen a series like this before. Elements yes but the way this is put together is masterful.
It was directed by Hettie Macdonald and Sheree Folkson whose credits include Beautiful Thing and In a Land of Plenty, Band of Gold and Casanova. If you recognise any of these series you will appreciate that we are looking at gritty dramas that deal with unusual and explicit themes.
It seems extraordinary to me that Sky Atlantic commissioned this series and Paul Abbott must have done quite a pitch, given the subject matter(s) and the location where it was filmed. Similarly that Chloe Sevigny agreed to do this.
I don't watch Shameless (find Frank repulsive and can't quite get past his character) so I don't know whether there are elements of this in Hit and Miss.
It won't be for everyone but if you like strange gritty and different dramas coupled with superb characters and acting then give this a go. It is gripping edge of the seat stuff that had me counting down the days for the next episode.
May be repeated on Sky
The DVD is 18 certificate and is available from Amazon for £13.50.