MR RIGHT [EDINBURGH FILM FESTIVAL]

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Francis is a good-natured assassin who meets and instantly falls for dinosaur-fixated eccentric Martha. Not long after, Francis is targeted by his former partner and becomes embroiled in the machinations of an ambitious gangster, which really gets in the way of trying to spend time with an awesome girl.

After the underseen and underrated American Ultra (which this movie may take place in the same universe of), Max Landis has scripted another quirky hitman story, although Mr Right has a lot more laughs and a lot more heart than the stoner bloodbath. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its fair share of violence; on the contrary, shootouts, stabbings and fistfights occur fairly frequently throughout, but they don’t dominate the plot to the extent that the romantic aspect gets lost in the mix. It’s highly reminiscent of Grosse Point Blank, not only from being a romcom featuring a hitman, but also the tone perfectly balancing the mix of easy-going relationship advancement interspersed with blackly comic action.

Sam Rockwell exudes an easygoing charm as Francis (except when anyone actually calls him by his hated name), his engaging presence reminding you how good he can be as a leading man. With an actor less charismatic, Francis’ dancing fighting style could have come off as a little pretentious, but Rockwell makes it fit perfectly with the character, the elaborate footwork performed as an extension of the poise and agility that required for any competent skill in martial arts. Francis also possesses reflexes bordering on superhuman, visualised neatly by his reacting at a regular rate to actions seen in slow motion.

Anna Kendrick continues to be eminently watchable in absolutely anything and everything, and Martha’s instinctive assertion is a fantastic change from the annoying dithering of many romantic heroines. Her brazen confidence means she is rarely fazed for long regardless of how extreme the situation, but never reaches the extent that she becomes too unrealistic to relate to. It’s through how she reacts to her growing realisation of Francis’ true nature that you can properly appreciate that the two of them are meant to be together, while along the way it gradually becomes clear that she’s at least partially insane herself. But, y’know, in a totally endearing way. Besides, the film also observes that everyone is screwed up in their own way, and the challenge is finding someone who is just the right amount of the right kind of screwed up for you.

To sum up Mr Right, it would be simplest to observe that this is a story featuring a meet-cute taking place through a cascade of tumbling condom packets, a date interrupted by an assassination attempt, and a romantic scene where a fledgling couple fling knives back and forth at each other. Charming, funny and thrilling, it’s about as near to a perfect date movie as you can get, and if Landis fancies penning the closing chapter of a pseudo-trilogy it would certainly be most welcome.

MR RIGHT / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: PACO CABEZAS / SCREENPLAY: MAX LANDIS / STARRING: SAM ROCKWELL, ANNA KENDRICK, TIM ROTH, JAMES RANSONE, ANSON MOUNT, MICHAEL EKLUND, KATIE NEHRA, RZA / RELEASE DATE: TBC

Expecting Rating: 8 out of 10

Actual Rating:

 


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