Reviews | Written by Andrew Dex 29/04/2021

THE VIRTUOSO

Opening with a narrated approach, know-it-all hitman The Virtuoso (Anson Mount) pulls the audience into his dark, gruesome, and ultimately, mysterious world. Anthony Hopkins (who is on top form right now after another Oscar win for The Father) plays The Mentor, a damaged soul with an unfortunate background that sets assignments for our main killer. For the latest mission The Virtuoso descends upon a quiet town to find and knock down the target White Rivers.

One of the most gripping parts of the film is where The Virtuoso breaks down through narration every figure at the bar he is in. From Abbie Cornish as The Waitress, through to David Morse as the deputy, there's a fantastic cast just in that one room. It briefly has the feel of something like The Hateful Eight, and displays a noteworthy direction idea from Nick Stagliano. As The Virtuoso ventures to find out who White Rivers is - with many unforeseen elements attempting to ruin his task - he assesses every situation in advance, and crosses people off his list in the most hitman way possible. We're frequently given an inside look at how the mind of a hitman might work. At the depths of the plot, The Virtuoso is fighting a mind battle, as he just doesn't want to do this horrendous, soul destroying job any more. He has become detached from reality, and doesn't know how to act in the real world. Anson Mount does well to capture this character's redemption within a slow tempo screenplay.

The Virtuoso can sadly feel unnecessarily dragged out. There's an interesting story here, it's just tough to cut through the lengthy style to get to it. Hitmen are obviously renowned for being emotionless, but a film about one shouldn't be so monotone. Overall, this hitman vacation is held up by the unpredictable back and forth conversations between The Waitress and The Virtuoso, as well as any intense dialogue delivered by Anthony Hopkins.