Screenplay, Grammatikos, Achilleas Kyriakides. Camera (color), Costis Gikas; editor, Giorgos Giannopoulos; music, Kyriakos Sfetsas; art direction, costume design, Youla Zoiopoulou; sound, Antonis Samaras, Dimitris Galanopoulos. Reviewed at Thessaloniki Film Festival (competing), Greece, Nov. 7, 1993. Running time: 110 MIN.
Nikos … Giorgos Giannopoulos
Kostas … Akis Sakellariou
Daphne … Betty Livanou
Andreas … Minas Hadzisavas
Matters of conscience and loyalty are challenged when two longtime friends confront the ethics of murder in “A Time to Kill.” Though it’s overlong and no groundbreaker, young Hellenic helmer Nikos Grammatikos’ sober sophomore feature packs enough dramatic weight to muscle in on Euro tube slates.
Ace target-shooter Nikos (Giorgos Giannopoulos) is approached by shifty stranger Andreas (Minas Hadzisavas), offering him big bucks to become a hit man. When his reckless shooter buddy Kostas (Akis Sakellariou) is roughed up by gambling heavies, Nikos accepts the job to clear his chum of debt.
Nikos balks at the crucial moment, but the target gets felled by an unknown assailant, Daphne (Betty Livanou). Seeing the boys as her ticket out of a sour relationship with Andreas, Daphne slips into a romantic clinch with Kostas, causing problems all round.
Pic opens with the T.S. Eliot lines “This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.” More of a bang is what’s missing from the movie: Grammatikos’ direction is confident but shies away from displays of violence and too often dilutes tension with ponderous reflective stretches when concrete character motivation is needed.
Acting and tech contributions are all solid, however, and judicious further editing could carve out pithier results. Sakellariou and Livanou won awards at the Thessaloniki fest’s national competition for their roles.