Sunday, June 16, 2024

Hit Man shows that Richard Linklater can straddle the line of mainstream and independent

I've long espoused the mastery of Richard Linklater, who I now place as my third-favorite movie director behind Alfred Hitchcock and Quentin Tanrantino. And while his latest, Hit Man on Netflix, is not his greatest, it's about as entertaining of a new release as you'll find, offering fun for both rom-com and action-crime fans (and it has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes).

I just reviewed another Glen Powell movie, Anyone But You, but Hit Man (along with 2016's Everybody Wants Some!!) really proves that this man is a star. He pulls off the Fletch-like task of changing into multiple characters in order to transform as a univeristy professor into a guy who disguises himself as a hit man for the New Orleans police in order to catch people before they are able to kill. Further, Powell wrote the script with Linklater.

What I wrote about Boyhood, my favorite movie of 2014, still holds:

If you're a fan of Linklater's other classics like Dazed and Confused, School of Rock, Before Sunrise, Slacker, Fast Food Nation, and Bernie, then you will surely think this is brilliant.

The director is usually more daring than he is with Hit Man. There was the 12-year real-life span of making Boyhood, the adult-focused animation of Waking Life, and the all-in-one-day story of the "Before" trilogy. He sticks with a strong focus on dialogue, which keeps it in the "independent" realm but still makes Hit Man his most mainstream movie ever. It works.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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