‘Hit Man’ Review: Richard Linklater’s Amusing Genre Bender

Kenny Miles reviews Richard Linklater's Hit Man, an amusing romantic comedy / neo-noir that plays very well thanks to Glen Powell and Adria Arjona.

Richard Linklater’s Hit Man offers a unique blend of classic screwball comedies and captivating noirs, a rarity in today’s cinema, resulting in its comedy-noir. With its unpredictable energy, this distinctive mix of genres deserves to garner audiences’ interest. Thanks to the amusing outfits, stark accents, and quirky mannerisms, I smiled nonstop in one of the year’s most entertaining movies. There was something old-fashioned about the movie that felt like a delightful throwback to 90s comedies and sometimes even Hollywood’s golden era.

The witty screenplay masterfully balances various plot points and tones with plenty of one-liners and mundane observations playing for laughs that make Hit Man soar. It is grounded in realism and has fun banter between the characters with room for laughs, thrills, and oneliners. Based on a true story about the New Orleans Police Department stumbling into the role of posing undercover as a reliable hitman to arrest those trying to hire him, the film takes creative liberties with the facts. For instance, it introduces a romantic subplot and exaggerates certain aspects of the police operation. However, these changes are entertaining.

See Also: ‘Bad Boys: Ride or Die’ Review: Still Ridin’ Together

The performances of Glen Powell and Adria Arjona in Hit Man elevate the film beyond the standard romantic comedy genre. Powell’s confident portrayal brings his character to life, making him endearing and charismatic. His ability to seamlessly transition between comedic and dramatic moments is a testament to his talent. Arjona, particularly in her breakout role, is alluring and funny as a woman who feels trapped in one relationship and wants to escape into another. However, the electric chemistry between her and Powell sets the film apart, leaving the audience eager to witness their dynamic on screen. It is a highlight that you remember long afterward!

My experience watching Hit Man at an advanced screening at the Alamo Drafthouse was quite revealing. While perhaps less enthusiastic than the reported film festival audiences, the packed audience still enjoyed the film. The thought of how well it would resonate on streaming platforms, notably Netflix, crossed my mind within the first 15-20 minutes. I am optimistic that Hit Man has the potential to find a broad audience on Netflix. On this platform, the movie’s unique charm, thanks to its clever blend of comedy and suspense, might have been overshadowed in multiplexes.

Hit Man is now streaming on Netflix!

Written by
Kenny admired film criticism as a child when his mother wrote a positive review of Home Alone in his small town Arkansas newspaper and defended it against angry Letters to the Editor. Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies especially the cultural impact of a film, if something is overlooked by Hollywood, or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, specialty releases, an auteur director, a unique premise, branding, and THE much infamous "awards season." Kenny currently lives in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion working as an events marketing coordinator. He spends many Friday nights exit polling for CinemaScore (and his opinions are his own).

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