Hit Man | TIFF 2023 | Review by: Amanda Guarragi
The way stars are made in Hollywood now has changed drastically. Some actors come up from television series or independent film brings fame. Some actors have been around for a while but have never gotten the recognition they deserve. In Richard Linklater’s Hit Man, Glen Powell takes on many roles and shows his range as an actor. Powell has been a supporting actor in films and television series and has always stood out. He has this movie star charm, and he effortlessly draws you in. The film follows Gary Johnson (Powell), a staff investigator who plays the role of a hitman to catch individuals ordering a hit. The premise is simple, but Linklater has fun with this character to make this one of the best comedies of the year.
Linklater wastes no time in getting to know Gary Johnson. As the film starts, the audience is taken by Powell instantly because he narrates what Johnson does for a living. He is a professor during the week, and to make some extra money, he works with the police. This already shows that there are two sides to Johnson, which foreshadows the journey he goes on. Johnson puts on the theatrics when he takes on the role of the “hitman" to his clients. There’s this internal battle that Johnson has with himself. He is unhappy with who he is, and when he moulds himself to fit the criteria of what his clients need in a hitman, he feels empowered.
This allows Linklater and Powell to have fun with his character. Johnson does his research on his clients and appears exactly as who they would think he would be. In doing so, Johnson gains confidence. He starts to change by pulling traits from each hitman. One day, he gets a call from Maddy (Adria Arjona), who wants to hire someone to take out her abusive husband. This is where things get interesting, a bit spicy, and then it spirals out of control. Co-writers Linklater, Powell, and Skip Hollandsworth craft an intricate story about identity and how decisions can change the trajectory of your life. Arjona and Powell have incredible chemistry and bring sexiness back to the genre. There is one scene in the third act that is written so well and showcases how talented they are.
Hit Man is one of the most delightful action comedies we have gotten in the past decade. It’s all thanks to Linklater’s fun premise and Powell’s charisma. As the action unfolds with these characters, it’s important to note that Linklater also dives into how humans can change. No one is set in their ways, and a change to routine can always do some good. Johnson has been trying to break out of the funk that he was in. He ends up finding happiness by channelling different facets of himself. No one is set in their ways. People can evolve and grow into new versions of themselves every year. Even if you see this as just an action film, it’s so much more than that, and you will walk away learning that it’s never too late to try something different.
Review by: Amanda Guarragi
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