“Hit Man” Sounds Like New Orleans Thanks to Taxes

“Hit Man” Sounds Like New Orleans Thanks to Taxes

Don’t miss “Hit Man” and, if possible, don’t wait to see it on Netflix. It sounds like a sentimental appeal, but trust me: This comedy should be seen in a theater, among people (even the slightly rude one who talks, makes noise and constantly looks at her cell phone), because it is one of the very rare films today in which you can palpably perceive the genuine enjoyment of the people sitting around you.

We laugh right away at Gary (Glen Powell), a college teacher and part-time “guards friend,” who assists the undercover agents on the technological side, dealing with bugs, microphones, cameras. Gary is so weird that he doesn’t even realize that people around him consider him a nerd, a guy so bizarre that he inspires a bit of bewilderment when he gets lost in his fascination with his tales of bird watching sightings. That is until he finds himself working undercover: plays a hired hitman to send to jail those who are willing to pay a professional to kill someone. Like all stories that sound particularly unlikely, Gary’s is also based on a true story: that of a former Vietnam veteran, Buddhist, animal lover who helped the police send potential murderers to prison, impersonating an undercover killer.

“Hit Man” chooses to tell New Orleans, also in music

“Hit Man – Accidental Killer” was inspired by a journalistic report that reconstructed the activity of the real Gary Johnson alongside the police. It also does much more, turning into a brilliant, sometimes hot romantic comedy, capable of hit a sugary rind that encloses a very black heart.

Furthermore deserts the usual cinematic settings Americans, which can be summarized in the big cities on both coasts, east and west. Linklater’s new film is instead set in scorching Louisiana, and more precisely in New Orleans. A city that usually serves as a backdrop to films mainly because of its history as a slave state and anti-federalism or for issues related to racism of today. “Hit Man – Killer by chance” is not an ode to the city made by those who know it well, but it does not allow New Orleans to remain an anonymous backdrop.

From the evocatively named streets (starting with the Desire and Cemeteries neighborhood, where “A Streetcar Named Desire” is set) to the sultry summer climate, from the kiosks where you can eat an excellent banana split to the music, of course. The soundtrack of “Hit Man” is crossed by the past and present sound of the city. It starts with “New Orleans Bump” by Jelly Roll Morton over the opening credits, moving on to “Big Chief” by Professor Longhair on the montages of Gary’s different killer performances and for two pieces of Dr. John: “I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say” and “Such A Night”, which accompanies the closing credits.

Henry Roeland “Roy” Byrd is a legendary pianist and symbol of New Orleans blues, while Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. embodied a more modern approach to the genre expressed in its local specificities. Both natives of the city, they are closely linked at a professional level to the musical history of the banks of the Mississippi.

Linklater, however, is not originally from Louisiana, nor does he have any particular ties to New Orleans. He is born and raised in Houston, which is the backdrop to many of his films and, coincidentally, is the city where the real Gary carried out his activity as an undercover agent. Knowing this, it is easy to notice a very Texan taste in this claim (which the film also puts in a critical frame) of to put on trial the intentions of possible instigators of murders.

“Hit Man” knew how seize opportunities, without suffering them

Why then was “Hit Man” moved to New Orleans, a city more devoted to stories of the slavery years and vampire sagas, taking the the task of tailoring a visual and musical identity to the film? The answer, at first glance, is not romantic at all. The director sets “Hit Man” in Louisiana a question of tax relief.

It’s a indie film, both in terms of budget and approach, based on a story that is not entirely original, of course, but still far from the logic of franchises and sequels of the studios. A film without any big names among the protagonists, which dares the genre of the romantic comedy even if in a dark key, which takes several creative risks.

To produce a film of this kind in the United States today, you have to do more than make a virtue of necessity. You have to be ready, for example, to to overturn the geographical identity of the film if in Houston, in the months in which they are thinking of shooting, there is no availability to obtain tax relief, while Louisiana offers a more than generous proposal. It is the cinema that should be told more often, appreciated, seen in the theater: the one that gets noticed not for its immobilistic gigantism, but for its extreme flexibility, its inexhaustible creativity, the ability to transform limits into added value in terms of freshness and originality. Working on it, not passively accepting everything, but trying to absorb the identity of the places that host it, through their music as well as their urban views.

What therefore seems to be a move dictated by pure opportunism tells of a cinema that, in its best aspects, he knows how to seize opportunities without suffering them. “Hit Man” is an exceptional film in its being brilliant, funny, sometimes cheeky, proving irresistible even when it talks about potentially distressing themes: being content in one’s professional and sentimental life, embracing and accepting one’s solitude, without contemplating the possibility of change. It is an exceptional comedywritten with remarkable acumen and led by two phenomenal lead actors, with perfect chemistry and, what’s more, breathtakingly attractive.

If there is one film not to be missed this summer, as anticipated at the beginning of this piece, it is precisely “Hit Man”.

“Hit Man” is in Italian cinemas and will soon be coming to Netflix.