The big mouth

It's another one for the video shelf for Stagliano, for whom The Virtuoso is the fourth feature. Penned by James C. Wolf, as was his last, this has a number of ideas focused on a hitman (Anson Mount), who narrates, and the pitfalls of his work that don't quite gibe into energetic action or coherent mystery. The Virtuoso likes to call himself that because he can do all sorts of hits. He wants to drop mob ones and focus on cleaner, better researched, less rushed corporate ones, and we get to see why; but he might not really qualify so well for either. He seems to get the collateral damage just fine. What about the neat, clean kills? The bulk of the action is set around a small town diner and a motel. "The Virtuoso" has to carry out another hit doled out by his "Mentor," played by Anthony Hopkins (more like his handler) based on fragmentary information. But things never quite connect; the writing is talky and frequently puts its foot in its mouth. Abbie Cornish lays on the charm as an amorous waitress. The Virtuoso says he hasn't seen her coming. We have. David Morse and Eddie Marsan were also hired for this production.

The Virtuoso, 110 mins., opens April 30, 2021.