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The Virtuoso shoots and doesn't score

Anson Mount is a hitman on a mysterious mission in The Virtuoso from Nazz Productions. Nick Stagliano directs the film, combining danger, deception, and murder in a sleepy country town. A professional assassin (Anson Mount) accepts a new assignment from his enigmatic mentor and boss (Oscar® winner Anthony Hopkins). Given only the where and when, along with a cryptic clue, the methodical hitman must identify his mysterious mark from among several possible targets, including a local sheriff (David Morse). Meanwhile, a chance encounter with an alluring woman (Abbie Cornish) at the town's rustic diner threatens to derail his mission in this noir-style cloak-and-dagger thriller.

One of the first things viewers will notice about the film is the voiceover narration by our lead, Anson Mount. In addition, no one in the cast has a character name. Instead, the film's writers James Wolf and Nick Stagliano, provide the characters with an alias. For example, our hero has the credit of The Virtuoso (Anson Mount) in the credits. In comparison, other actors have similar templates, such as The Mentor (Anthony Hopkins), The Waitress (Abbie Cornish), The Deputy (David Morse), and The Loner (Eddie Marsan).

The Virtuoso opens up with a familiar plot point of assassin films where the hitman makes a mistake during a hit and begins to regret his decision. After The Virtuoso has a heart-to-heart conformation with The Mentor, I had an initial idea of where the film might go. Instead, it attempts to go in another direction but fails.

For starters, the voiceover by Anson Mount becomes annoying as we often hear him speak moments later. Perhaps if the script made an established point that The Virtuoso had taken a vow of silence after his mistake, the plot point would have worked better. I have always enjoyed Mount in action roles since his appearance as a henchman in 2012's Safe. I had hoped his appearance as Black Bolt in the series Inhumans would lead to better parts. However, he has to scrape the bottom of the barrel with movies like this.

Fresh off his Oscar win for The Father, Anthony Hopkins is only here for a paycheck. His Welsh swagger attempts to come off as menacing in a few moments, but Hopkins has a grin on his face that comes off as comical more than menacing. Character actor David Morse falls into the same fate displaying acting that says he does not want to be in the movie.

The film's action sequences are tepid and dry, as it appears the film is going for a Neo-Noir vibe that it just cannot sell. When the twist ending comes into play, even the most novice filmgoer will figure it out. I understand the angle that the script was going for, and I enjoyed the chemistry between Abbie Cornish and Anson Mount. However, overall The Virtuoso is a bunch of ideas that never fully come together.

Final Grade D

The Virtuoso is Streaming on Digital, On-Demand and is also available on Blu Ray and DVD now.


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