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Chloe Sevigny Packs Heat and a Prosthetic Penis in 'Hit & Miss'

Photo of Alison Willmore By Alison Willmore | Indiewire July 10, 2012 at 4:54PM

Neil Jordan isn't involved in "Hit & Miss," a six-episode UK series making its US premiere on DirecTV this Wednesday, July 11th at 10pm -- he's got his own television project, "The Borgias," on Showtime. But "Hit and Miss" (create by Paul Abbott, of "Shameless) does feel a little like a creation patchworked together from pieces of Jordan's films -- a touch of "The Butcher Boy," a dab of "Mona Lisa" and, of course, a hefty dose of "The Crying Game." It brings together two types of characters he's shown an affinity for -- children and transwomen, four of the former and one of the latter united by the death of someone they all loved.
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"Hit & Miss" offers us its protagonist's nudity in a casual but confrontational way -- it's not staged to shock, but instead is presented in matter-of-fact scenes (Mia tucking herself into her undies) that insist you look. And Mia certainly does -- in one scene, drinking alone to console herself after one of her wards calls her a "freak," she strips down in front of a mirror and lashes at her own form. Mia thinks of herself as a woman trapped in a man's body, and so sees herself as stuck halfway, saving up for the operation that will fully free her to become, per the show's own chosen and not terribly subtle metaphor, a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.

There's something of the noir to Sevigny's take on Mia, from her vaguely vintage hairdo to the lower register in which the actress speaks (the accent's a shakier thing). The character's more comfortable killing people than being around them, though Sevigny's less convincing when she's supposed to be showing off her unexpected strength and physical prowess by punching bags, hanging sides of meat or neighboring bullies -- she doesn't make the case that her career should next veer off into the action genre. But dealing with the kids or interacting with flirty local Ben (Jonas Armstrong), she's heartbreakingly tentative, testing out the waters of not just feminine social behavior but sudden adoptive motherhood as well.

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If "Hit & Miss" has, in terms of its heroine, the feel of a stunt, it's one that defies expectations by being such a strange mix of the intimate and the outlandish -- it even manages the odd moment of humor, like an understated take on the old "is that a *ahem* in your pants or are you just happy to see me" line. And if Sevigny can't quite pull off all the tough gal aspects of the role, she still impresses in the more domestic half of her role and in the slow sense of comfort her character is developing with herself. She's highly watchable, especially when the show allows Mia moments of being larger than life -- singing a Morrissey song in the spotlight at a karaoke night, dancing with her new family at an impromptu party and demonstrating that becoming the person you think you're meant to be is as much an interior process as an exterior one.

This article is related to: Television, TV Reviews, DirecTV, Chloe Sevigny, Hit & Miss

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