Film - The Virtuoso

Our own highly skilled assassin, Steve Taylor-Bryant, watched The Virtuoso, out on DVD today, thanks to Lionsgate...

There has been a spate of assassin type films in the last ten years, many bad, some okay, rarely brilliant but many enjoyable and The Virtuoso stands out from the usual crowd because it’s slightly better than okay and has some truly virtuoso moments from a cast that is quality.

A lonesome stranger, secure, nerves of steel, must track down and kill a rogue Hitman to satisfy an outstanding debt. But the only information he's been given is a time and location where to find his quarry - 5pm at a rustic diner in the dying town. No name, no description, nothing. When the assassin arrives there are several possible targets, including the county sheriff. Endangering his life, the assassin embarks on a manhunt to find the Hitman and accomplish his mission. But the danger escalates when his encounters with a local woman threaten to derail his task.

The concept of an assassin having to work out who his target is from several possible choices is an interesting one and, whilst maybe a more experienced writing team than James Wolf and Nick Stagliano would have made more of the uniqueness of that plot device, The Virtuoso is still a pretty solid idea played out well. There are some flaws, some petty gripes I may have but for a film with this cast and an intriguing idea to start with I can think of worse ways of spending an afternoon. 

Hopkins role is not as large as the marketing would have you believe but every moment of his appearance is a masterpiece by an actor without peer. However my two standouts are Anson Mount as the titular assassin The Virtuoso, and the often underrated Abbie Cornish as the waitress. I don’t know Mount from much [you don't watch Star Trek - Ed] but he’s convincing in that action role with more acting chops than maybe other “action” stars who play at this level. As convincing as Mount was, and as masterful as Hopkins can be, it’s yet another great showing by Cornish who just goes about her business quietly and convincingly and maybe needs some bigger exposure than projects like The Virtuoso can give her. The film is definitely better for her involvement and her talent surely demands juicier roles and bigger investment.

Staglioni does a solid directing job of an intriguing yet not perfect script and the casting is definitely the highlight of a film that is better than you’d think it is but not as good as I wish it was.

Follow Steve on Twitter @STBwrites

Image - Lionsgate

The Virtuoso is on Digital Download 30th April and DVD 10th May from Lionsgate

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