Thursday, April 29, 2021

Movie about a hitman misses badly

 It's almost a rule. An actor or actress wins an Oscar and the next time we see him or her in a movie it's a dud. In the depressingly dreary  VirtuosoAnthony Hopkins, recent winner of the best actor Oscar for his work in The Father, plays a mysterious Vietnam vet called The Mentor. During a scene set in a cemetery, Hopkins talks about his character's Vietnam experiences, delivering a monologue that sounds as if Hannibal Lecter is auditioning for the role of Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. Listening to The Mentor describe a massacre of civilians in which he participated becomes a self-conscious aria of Hopkins' speak. Hopkins isn't the main event in director Nick Stagliano's misfire. Anson Mount portrays the assassin who takes his assignments from the Mentor. After an early picture job results in some disastrous collateral damage, the assassin is sent to a small town to kill someone identified only as White Rivers. He arrives at a diner where he scopes out the clientele and meets a waitress (Abbie Cornish) who seems attracted to him. Throughout what seems intended as a guessing game about who’s trying to kill whom, the assassin talks to himself in what becomes the movie's monotonous narration. He blandly recites dialogue that sounds as if it had been lifted from Assassination for Dummies. He reminds himself that he's a professional. He emphasizes the need for perfection and precision. He should have reminded himself to inject some life into a movie that's pretty much DOA.

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