HIT MAN. Glen Powell as Undercover Lover [REVIEW]

“Hit Man” is Richard Linklater’s new movie.

Mary Kosiarz

17 May 2024

From a composed philosophy professor to a passionate lover with many secrets. *Hit Man*, the latest film by Richard Linklater – the director behind the *Before* trilogy with Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, and *Boyhood*. This time, the director takes us on a hilarious journey through the life of Gary Johnson, an unassuming intellectual who completely turns his life upside down overnight. The man becomes a police decoy, helping to catch would-be murderers. If that upheaval in his life weren’t enough, thanks to his newfound profession, Gary embarks on an entirely unexpected, fiery romance with a woman whom… he was supposed to catch in the act of commissioning a murder. Brilliant humor and an absolutely insane plot are just the beginning of the array of attractions that *Hit Man* has to offer. It’s a comedy about breaking social norms and experiencing a love for which we are willing to cross all boundaries.

It must be admitted that Glen Powell, who we recently saw alongside Sydney Sweeney in the romantic comedy *Anyone But You*, is making perfect use of his moment in the spotlight. The screenplay for *Hit Man* was also co-written by him, and you can’t help but notice the passion and optimism he put into creating his absolutely unique character. We meet Gary Johnson as a modest, taciturn, and frugally styled university lecturer who moonlights as a police consultant after classes. Due to a certain turn of events, his colleagues throw him into the deep end during one confrontation – Gary’s task is to pose as a contract killer and get the client to confess. Unexpectedly – for his colleagues and himself – Gary feels like a fish in water in his new profession. He abandons his mundane, almost boring, academic life in favor of adrenaline and working under pressure.

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New challenges after a painful divorce finally allow him to find meaning in everyday life. In every operation, he takes on a completely new persona – resulting in a host of brilliant acting incarnations that Glen Powell juggles masterfully and almost effortlessly. However, all good things sooner or later encounter some obstacles. In Gary’s case, it will be the charming Madison (Adria Arjona), who seeks a way to escape her tyrannical husband through the hired killer. Smitten, Gary embarks on a romance that not only undermines his credibility as a cop but triggers a whole cascade of lies and quickly lands him in considerable trouble.

*Hit Man* doesn’t strive to be a moralizing, ambitious film, providing material for deep emotional analysis. It’s primarily an entertaining genre mix that breaks conventions, cleverly combining comedy with action, romance, and erotic cinema. The swift action, numerous plot twists, and well-crafted intrigue keep the audience from feeling even a moment of boredom, constantly providing reasons for genuine laughter and stimulating the senses. In this crazy work, the truth remains a mystery almost until the very end, and when it finally comes to light, it does so absolutely spectacularly, amusing the viewer to tears.

Glen Powell as Gary steals the show, flooding the screen with natural and effortless charisma from the first scenes, where his character just starts on the path of inner transformation, until the absolutely wild ending, when his former personality is long gone. Alongside Adria Arjona, he creates a truly electrifying duo that blossoms before the viewers’ eyes, especially in the second act of the film. Lovers of cinematic spice will certainly be delighted by their incredible chemistry and a few exceptionally hot love scenes. This subplot, though initially full of ecstasy and carefree moments, turns out to be the spark for a twisted final sequence in which Gary must choose between acting out of love and adhering to the law. Linklater and Powell consistently mock social clichés and established norms, playing with form and placing their characters in utterly absurd situations. However, it’s these situations that make them realize that for happiness and fulfillment, they are capable of the most outlandish deeds.

hit man

The screenplay for *Hit Man* is quirky, twisted, sometimes detached from reality, but it provides unforced and, most importantly – intelligent entertainment. Glen Powell, who might have seemed to many as just another pretty face for at most one film season, proves that he excels in comedic roles, and this genre holds a special place in his heart. But it’s not just him and Arjona who shine on screen (the scene with the bugged conversation – an absolute masterpiece) – almost the entire supporting cast, from Madison’s aggressive husband Ray (Evan Holtzman) to Jasper (Austin Amelio) who gets framed by the main pair, deserves applause.

The cherry on top is the pompous ending that caps off Gary’s impressive transformation and hilariously bids the viewer farewell, leaving them with a slight sense of yearning – 2 hours of the screening fly by, and you just wish to see the continuation of this crazy story. As typical entertainment cinema, *Hit Man* works great, amusing, stimulating the imagination, and warning against stereotypical thinking.

Richard Linklater, deviating somewhat from his typical film style, still maintains form and delivers a pleasant genre mix from which we emerge fully satisfied and thoroughly amused. *Hit Man* is a bullseye for a relaxed, non-demanding, but not foolish screening. Though occasionally detached from reality and somewhat over-sweetened, the new action-comedy with Glen Powell remains the best comedic choice for a movie weekend in theater seats.

Mary Kosiarz

Mary Kosiarz

Far from keeping her feet firmly on the ground, she has sold her artistic soul to books and cinematography. Fascinated by Meryl Streep and an avid fan of unconventional film endings. In her free time, she educates about mental health and recommends her favorite books and screens.

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