‘Hit’ me with your instant cult classic

A mystery rolled up in an organic corn tortilla of whimsical sex and stuffed with elements of cinematic wonder Hit Man need to be on your must see list. Pronto.

The less revealed about the plot the better you will enjoy Hit Man. Let me just say this film bridges the sharp humor of Billy Wilder with the soft-touch of Truffaut and shaken in the blender of the Richard Linklater new millennium sensibility.

I went in thinking this was a movie about a real life assassin. And yes it is, and yet it’s not what you think of a bogus man in traditional terms.

If there is a saving grace to the summer box office it is Glen Powell. With Hit Man and the upcoming Twisters, as well as the recent successful run of Anyone But You, Powell is poised to become the current box office It Boy.

Despite Hit Man being a limited Netflix release (in theaters May 24) the box office will demand additional screenings despite premiering on Netflix starting June 7.

Hit Man has laughs along with tension and occasional action moments but most of all it has heart. It’s the kind of movie where you fall in love with the characters – all of the characters even the bad ones.

Hit Man, (L to R) Adria Arjona as Madison, director & co-writer Richard Linkletter, co-writer Glen Powell as Gary Johnson, and director of photography Shane F. Kelly. Cr. Brian Rondel / Courtesy of Netflix

Linklater may be the most misunderstood major American director working today. Every film he makes has the potential to be a film classic if not a cult classic.

Powell plays a college professor with a second job that he doesn’t talk about to his students. Power co-write the script with Linklater based on a Texas Monthly article by Walter Ned “Skip” Hollandsworth. The latter also wrote Linklater’s film Bernie.

(On a side note I interviewed Hollandsworth when Bernie came out and since he works for Texas Monthly I asked him about the article the magazine had published about the Aurora, Texas UFO incident from 1897. That was like a bucket list question.)

Based on a true story the plot finds humor in the most mundane moments of seriousness. And yet the reason it’s so good it that Hit Man finds consequential insight into the human condition while grinning and moving like a post-modern film noir.

There are some worthy supporting performances from Adria Arjona, Retta, and Sandjay Rao that are so sweet you wonder if their characters shouldn’t have their own films.

There’s a sequence about a reel in where Linklater unwinds a sequence of film clips from classic movies dealing with guns and the men who carry them. There was definitely some Clint Eastwood and some Seijun Suzuki. It was a rapid montage that wouldn’t be out of place in a silent film. If only for that scene I need to see the film again.

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