Diving Into 'Hawkeye's Ode To Classic Crime Movies
A whole lot of crazy stuff happened this week on Hawkeye, from the reveal of a not-so-secret mystery villain, Kate and Yelena’s late-night macaroni and cheese party, to the twist that Kate’s mom is (as we speculated) as shady as a Sunglass Hut during a solar eclipse. It’s also becoming clear that Hawkeye isn’t just riffing on Christmas movies, like Die Hard and The Santa Clause (maybe); it’s also paying homage to several classic crime films.
The basic set-up of the show, Clint attempting to disentangle himself from a mob war and get home to his family, is reminiscent of all those movies featuring a criminal who tries to go straight but is forced to do just “one more job” by their crooked associates. One of the best examples of this specific subgenre is Michael Mann’s Thief, in which an aging safecracker played by James Caan wants to retire and raise his family. Arguably there’s a lot of Thief in Hawkeye – not just because both are about dudes who are clearly sick to death of their dangerous jobs, but certain scenes seem very similar, like how our protagonist first gets to know their female companion (platonic in the case of Hawkeye, thankfully) at a greasy spoon diner.
And both Clint and James Caan have dramatic showdowns at similarly-illuminated, mob-owned used car lots.
Sure enough, the filmmakers behind Hawkeye cited Thief as one of their inspirations. They also namechecked 1967’s Point Blank, which you can totally see in certain scenes, like when Hawkeye enlists Kate to sneak into an apartment, which she does by walking through the lobby door and hopping on an elevator.
All while Clint watches from a hiding spot across the street, Lee Marvin-style.
Luc Besson’s Leon: The Professional was also apparently an influence, which makes sense considering that both are about older assassins hanging out with much younger female mentees – but since early versions of the script featured a sexual subplot, allegedly inspired by the director’s “real-life relationship with a 15-year-old girl who he first met when she was 12” presumably Disney isn’t so thrilled about that comparison.
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Top Image: Marvel Studios