Hit Man follows Gary Johnson (Glen Powell), a part-time philosophy professor and undercover cop. Gary lacks confidence and seems to be drifting through a life without meaning. One day, on the job as an undercover police officer, Gary is given the opportunity to pose as a hitman to allow people who hire him and incriminate themselves. He finds his confidence and puts on a convincing front as a hitman. Gary proceeds to cycle through disguises and personas as this whole ‘fake hit man’ act gives him confidence.
Things get complicated when he meets a beautiful woman named Madison (Adria Arjona). She asks Gary to kill her husband because she’s in a horrible marriage and she thinks it’s her only way out. The tale gets even more twisted, ridiculous, hilarious, and dark from there.
I attended the Saturday evening press screening and got to chat with fellow members of the press before and after the film.
The press audience was highly anticipating director Richard Linklater’s film and it did not disappoint. Roars of laughter, applause, and visceral reactions were plentiful throughout the film. Those reactions are typically unusual at press screenings, as film journalists tend to be more reserved. I was impressed with how Linklater threaded the needle of humor and dark themes that unravel as the film unfolds.
This is my second favorite of the festival so far, only to Freaky Tales, and is sure to thrill audiences when it debuts on Netflix later this year.
Linklater actually made his feature directorial debut at Sundance way back in 1991. An Austin, Texas native, Linklater was never embedded with the Hollywood system and embodies what Sundance is all about: empowering independent filmmakers.
The exciting parts of Sundance, besides the fanfare, celebrities, and theater audiences, are seeing brand new films for the first time. It’s exciting to not know what you’re going to get in terms of quality filmmaking. Putting down your phone for two hours is refreshing, and being immersed in the experience of new art and new cinema is exciting for me. Exploring new ideas and discovering new filmmakers gives Utah an interesting facet that many people aren’t aware of. They think of skiing and national parks, but the arts are often forgotten.
I highly recommend Hit Man, and if you’re looking to catch it before the festival ends, you can watch it online or attend in person. Tickets are still available! If not, it will be available on Netflix later this year.