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News Every Day |

Hit Man Is Destined To Become a Hit

Hollywood needs to make more movies like Richard Linklater’s Hit Man which is currently streaming on Netflix along with a limited theater release. The movie tells the story of a college professor Gary Johnson (Glen Powell) who assists the police department by posing as a contract killer to entrap would-be murderers. Gary’s life spirals out of control when he falls in love with Madison (Adria Arjona) who has requested that he take out her abusive husband. A mélange of genres from suspense to film noir to romantic comedy to morality tale, Hit Man is an intelligent and engaging film that makes you want to watch it a second time.

Hit Man is also appealing because like other recently released films … it is not woke.

Co-written by Linklater and Powell, Hit Man is loosely based on the life of the real Gary Johnson  profiled in a 2001 Texas Monthly article by Skip Hollandsworth. When we meet Gary in the film, he is a professor of psychology at the University of New Orleans who has a side job assisting the police department with technical surveillance.  When the police department’s current “fake hit man” Jasper (Austin Amelio) gets suspended for a physical altercation with teenagers, Gary gets called up to take his place. His colleagues at the police department soon discover that this mild-mannered professor has a natural ability for role-playing along with an affinity for believable disguises. And before you know it, he has significantly improved the department’s undercover arrest statistics. One of the film’s most humorous  scenes takes place when Gary meets with Craig, a potential client (Mike Markoff) and describes in vivid detail his method for killing people and disposing of their bodies. The scene is funny because Gary is making the whole story up as he goes along yet Craig takes this graphic account as evidence that he is a hard core killer.

Gary’s double life gets complicated when he meets Madison. First he tells her to take the money that she would have paid him to “kill” her husband to create a new life for herself. Then he later runs into her after she has supposedly divorced her husband and they become romantically involved. Of course, nothing is completely as it seems and Linklater keeps us guessing as to the character’s true intentions. The film is smart in that it poses moral questions without preaching a particular orthodoxy, an approach which is refreshing in today’s social justice driven culture.

Powell who has been acting for the last twenty years is now suddenly Hollywood’s latest “it guy’. He is a wonderfully expressive and contemplative actor who at times appears to be channeling a mix of Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt. And the beautiful Arjona recalls a young Salma Hayek or Eva Mendes. Together, they have amazing chemistry both in and out of the love scenes. These are two physically attractive people who are made even more enticing by their emotional intensity. It is as if they share a secret about which we the audience may only speculate. The supporting cast including Austin Amelio, Sanjay Rao, Retta and Gralen Bryant Banks are also first-rate.

Hit Man is also appealing because like other recently released films  The Fall Guy  and Ghostbusters: The Frozen Empirewhich I also reviewed for these pages, it is not woke. Furthermore, Hit Man despite its subject matter also reaffirms traditional family values and the supremacy of good over evil. This recent crop of traditional values films from  a cancel-culture soil presents a hopeful harbinger that society has not gone completely off the ideological cliff. There are still people out there like Richard Linklater who want to tell stories about heroes who are still fighting the good fight against those who seek to tear our civilization apart.

The distribution of Hit Man represents a curious departure from past models in that Netflix purchased the film for $20 million at the Venice Film Festival but only released the film in a limited number of theaters on May 31 before making it also available for streaming on June 7. Industry analysts have questioned this approach given the movie’s positive reviews and have expressed concern that by limiting the scope and duration of the film’s exclusive in theater availability, Netflix risks burying it with its other offerings. The results of this strategy remain to be seen but the film’s positive buzz with a Rotten Tomatoes 97 percent Tomatometer and a 95 percent Audience Score bode well for its finding a wide audience.

I highly recommend Hit Man as an entertaining genre-blending cinema experience with sharp writing and excellent performances that also celebrates traditional values. And watch out for Glen Powell. He is about to become a big star.

READ MORE reviews by Leonora Cravotta:

Anthony Esolen Exposes Modern Liberal Fallacies in The Lies of Our Time

The Fall Guy Honors Stunt People, Traditional Values

Netflix Takes Liberties With Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full

The post <i>Hit Man</i> Is Destined To Become a Hit appeared first on The American Spectator | USA News and Politics.


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