Thursday, June 13, 2024

Hit Man

Loosely based on the life of a community college professor who worked part time with the local police as a fictional hitman to help put away those attempting to hire him for murder, Glen Powell stars as Gary Johnson who discovers he has a talent for inventing a variety of hitmen and begins to enjoy the escapades more than his day-to-day life.

And that's where events from real life, some of which sound even more bizarre than what we get in the film, diverge. The events of the real Gary Johnson were chronicled in an issue of Texas Monthly. The film takes a turn when Gary, pretending to be Ron the hitman, falls for a potential client (Adria Arjona) and talks her out of hiring him rather than allowing her to incriminate herself by hiring him to kill her controlling husband (Evan Holtzman). Their flirtation goes past this first meeting causing complications for Gary to keep the relationship secret from the police, who he's still working for, and for Ron to hide the truth from the new woman in his life.

What sounds like a convoluted romcom setup works, for the most part. Knowing he can't tell Madison (Arjona) the truth, in part because she's attracted to the dangerous side of him, Gary is forced into being Ron around her leading him to eventually take on more of Ron's characteristics in his everyday life. The film gets a bit meta at times with Gary discussing themes of personality, individuality, growth, and societal norms with his college students (who also notice a change in their professor over the course of the film).

Hit Man is quite an enjoyable film with both Powell and Arjona, who have great chemistry together, as its standouts. The other notable performances are the police team made up of Austin Amelio, Retta, and Sanjay Rao and some of the would-be clients of dubious intelligence such as Bryant Carroll and Jo-Ann Robinson. I do think the middle of the film could be tightened up a bit, cutting perhaps 10 minutes or more from its run-time which might elevate it from a good film into a great one. Even if it does dip a bit in the middle, the film finds its second wind with a strong final half-hour building to a crowd-pleasing crescendo.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Hit Man
  • IMDb: link

No comments: