Ben Oliver

Banner image for Hit Man

Hit Man

Seize the identity you want for yourself.
07 July 2024

An undercover cop (Glen Powell) finds success catching criminals by posing as a hit man in numerous sting operations. Things get more complicated when he starts to fall for one of his suspects (Adria Arjona).

It’s quite amusing and interesting to see Richard Linklater borrow from his own wide-range of styles and make a sort-of mashup of them. There’s elements of the Before trilogy here, along with School of Rock style humour (albeit more grown up) and it’s all set to a noir-ish often anxiety inducing story.

It doesn’t always work. For instance our protagonist is a college philosophy professor by day, and his lectures are always way too on-the-nose with regards to the other undercover-cop side of his life. It’s also hard to see the ‘regular’ guy as little more than a caricature, where the ‘fake’ hit man Powell plays is where he’s much more at ease on screen. The transition between the old identity and the new ‘hit man’ is just a bit too frictionless.

Plus the very concept and structure of the film relies on crazy but predictable coincidences, and the characters making almost inexplicable choices. Then it all ends quite abruptly.

I found it quite easy to toss those critiques aside though because Hit Man tells its story with buckets of charm and character. When the two leads start to click it really is fun to watch, and there are a few scenes in particular where there are so many layers at work about who’s-playing-who it’s hilarious.

Hit Man is flawed and sometimes feels like a lost Steven Soderbergh caper, but it gets by on good humour and charisma in its writing and acting - in this case that’s more than enough for a good time.

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