Highly Skilled In Mundanity
The Virtuoso sets itself up to be a really intriguing assassin-based thriller. Unfortunately, this film is neither thrilling nor particularly interesting.
With a slow pace and a main character devoid of charisma, The Virtuoso takes an interesting idea and runs it into the ground in the worst way possible. Despite Anthony Hopkins and Abbie Cornish’s presence, this movie is a blue-grey hued dud.
The story here essentially borrows concepts from Memento, John Wick and The Departed, blending them together into a plot about a mysterious assassin, known simply as The Virtuoso. Haunted by “collateral damage” in an earlier mission, Virtuoso is given a new mission by his mentor; to hunt down and kill a rogue hitman. However, there’s a catch.
All our protagonist is given is a time and location; 5pm at a diner on the outskirts of a sleepy town. When he arrives, Virtuoso immediately finds himself with several different suspects and very little else to work with. From here, he begins methodically working out who the real target is.
This game of who’s who is made all the more complicated by bubbly waitress, Dee. This femme fatale immediately takes a fancy to our Virtuoso and threatens to completely derail his plans. Will he find the target in time? Well, that question remains until the very end, where a surprisingly good twist can’t quite do enough to save this film.
On paper, there’s actually some ideas thrown around here and the psychologically charged story opens up the possibility of a more paranoia-inducing picture than one may be expecting.
Unfortunately, what we get instead is a movie rife with stiff acting and absolutely zero chemistry between leads on-screen. In fact, Anson Mount and Abbie Cornish have so little that their stiff, flatlined dialogue is not only cheesy, it’s also cringe-inducing.
It’s a shame because the unusual second-person POV narration is quite an interesting and unusual tool to use. The main character’s actions are always told through “you” and “your”, presumably done so to allow you to project yourself into The Virtuoso character.
These story issues are perhaps made worse by the sloppy technicality too. The editing here is so poor and the few action sequences we do get are haphazardly cut, missing crucial crunching blows off-screen. It also doesn’t help that the lighting is pretty poor throughout, with lots of long shadows obscuring facial expressions and interiors.
Given the acting talent behind this project and the bright ideas, The Virtuoso unfortunately does not live up to its name. This action thriller is armed with thin fragments of the former and very little of the latter. The result is a laborious drama that flatlines its way to the finish line.
The Virtuoso releases on demand and in select theatres Friday, April 30th