Glen Powell has hovered on the verge of being a major movie star for quite some time now. Those of us who remember him rapping in Richard Linklater’s baseball hangout movie Everybody Wants Some!! or sharing pizza with Zoey Deutch in the Netflix rom-com Set It Up have been rooting for it to happen; we cheered as he inched closer with roles in higher-profile films like Top Gun: Maverick. His 2023 rom-com Anyone But You further proved what we already knew, and has become a surprising word-of-mouth hit at the box office, earning $100 million globally as of this weekend.
But even Powell’s fans may not be prepared for what he unleashes in Hit Man, in which Powell reteams with director Richard Linklater. This morning Netflix dropped the first teaser for the film, which premiered to rave reviews at the fall festivals last year. While this first look is jaunty, it’s also a little cheeky, and avoids revealing what the movie is really about. Yes, it’s about a hit man, but it’s really so much more than that.
Inspired by a Texas Monthly article, Hit Man finds Powell playing Gary Johnson—who is not actually a real life hit man, but a guy who pretends to be a hitman to help cops catch people trying to hire actual hit men. Gary himself is a mousey professor who transforms when on the job into whatever kind of guy he thinks the target wants. When he puts on a suave persona for a woman (Adria Arjona) looking to kill her abusive husband, romance starts to enter the equation, and everything goes awry. The movie is a real testament to Powell’s talents—he co-wrote the script with longtime collaborator Linklater, and he’s just as convincing as the meek Gary as he is playing all of Gary’s more confident alter egos.
When streamer Netflix bought the film for a reported $20 million there were some grumbles from critics who had seen the film play incredibly well at festival screenings, with packed houses audibly swooning for Powell. Indeed, Netflix is planning a limited theatrical run for Hit Man, but the big event is the release on its platform starting June 7. That means, regardless of whether you plan to find a theater showing it—which I highly recommend—or you’re just going to wait for streaming, you are going to have to wait an excruciatingly long time to see this extremely charming movie. But, trust me, it will be worth it.
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