The angst of the paid murderer is a delicate subject – so delicate that it is even potentially invalid. “The Virtuoso”, directed by Nick Stagliano from a screenplay by James C. Wolf, misses its shot in a spectacular and sometimes spectacularly pretentious way.
The very square Anson frame plays the main character. In the opening scene, he shoots a woman, straight through the breastbone, as she is naked and rides a man upside down. She has the presence of mind to get off her partner so Mount’s “virtuoso” can plug this man across the forehead.
This is the virtuoso’s apparent best performance in the film. A pompous second-person narration details the killer’s practices. He is often seen himself making faces in mirrors, as if to develop a personality. He’s getting commissions from Anthony Hopkins – last weekend an Oscar-winning actor, this weekend a distributor of monologue in a turgid piece of hackwork – which he continues to screw up over and over again.
Hopkins sends our anti-hero to a rural town where he must find his target. One possibility: a restaurant waitress played by Abbie Cornish, who to my knowledge did nothing to deserve this movie.
It’s not just the main character who fails to thrive. The cinema is occasionally, to put it mildly, fractured. As the virtuoso begins a night raid, the voiceover explains that he must watch out for the dogs, which may be in the house he is approaching. “On nights like this, only the cruelest owners leave their dogs behind.” Nights like this? It’s not snowing, the virtuoso wears a pea coat – no gloves – and no one exhales a condensed breath. But okay.
Rated R for the usual paid assassins movies, plus nudity. Duration: 1 hour 50 minutes. In theaters and available for rent or purchase on Google Play, FandangoNow, and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators. Please review the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies in theaters.