Another thriller, but this time from the Hitman’s angle of being hired and then having to figure out who is the target.
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Anson Mount, Abbie Cornish, Eddie Marsan, David Morse, Diora Baird, Richard Brake and Chris Perfetti
Director: Nick Stagliano
Scriptwriters: Nick Stagliano and James C, Wolf
Composers: Brooke Blair and Will Blair
Cinematography: Frank Prinz
Rating: R with violence and themed material
Running length: 111 Minutes
Sir Anthony Hopkins just won an Academy Award for his performance in “The Father.” Good thing this film wasn’t one of the films considered for performances, as, though it is adequate, not the high-powered drama Hopkins is capable of. In “The Virtuoso,” it is not Hopkins who carries this name, but the Hitman (Anson Mount from “Star Trek: Discovery”) who works for Hopkins. And there you have it, another thriller, but this time from the Hitman’s angle of being hired and then having to figure out who is the target. Like an archer looking at various targets, do you aim for the Circle? Figure? Animal? Mannequin? Only one is the correct one.
So, the film begins with the Hitman (Mount) putting together his artillery, and going to meet his boss, Hopkins (Mentor). We see what makes a Hitman from weapons, to precision in just about everything, including practicing facial expressions (never know when a smile is needed), and doing your job thoroughly. We have seen this before with Jason Stratham (“The Mechanic”) or Keanu Reeves (“John Wick”) and there was style there. However, there is no style here, rather bland, in fact. We see that the Hitman had a situation last time and it resulted in chaos. Hopkins gives him another chance and this time in a diner are people eating and one of them is the target. Which one? Is it the Deputy Sheriff (David Morse)? The waitress (Abbie Cornish?) Two people; sitting together (Diora Baird and Richard Brake?) Or someone else, entirely? Hitman must decide, but the Waitress (Abbie Cornish who steals her scenes) takes a liking to him. In the meantime, during the film, we do get a look at what Anthony Hopkins can do with dialogue, as he has a lengthy bit he does with relish. So, Mr. Hitman (and he calls himself The Virtuoso), can you make the correct decision? Or is it already too late? Is the audience starting to fall asleep?
“The Virtuoso” has an intriguing plot and trying to find your target in a group of people requires skill, Anson Mount doesn’t quite meet the situation and seems one stroke off in the film. It’s almost as though parts of the film were played with improvisation. The person who, also, steals his scenes is Chris Perfetti as the clerk in the motel. Reminiscent of Don Knotts. The pace of the film is that of a stage play, and as such, my attention started to wane halfway through. “The Virtuoso” became “The Almost-Made-It,” instead.
Copyright 2021 Marie Asner