The opportunity to see a Sundance Film Festival premiere is unlike anything else. The anticipation and mystery that approaches each opening credit is unmatched and it is what makes the festival, now in its 40th year, so special.

Most Sundance films have the stereotype of being very heavy in subject matter. For instance this festival I have seen films centering around suicide, body dysmorphia, religion and even the Holocaust. So it’s not often you leave a Sundance film with the statement, “Dang! That was so much fun!”

Well tonight, I left a theater with a smile on my face and a sense of enjoyment that took me quite by surprise.

A very familiar Sundance face, Richard Linklater, returned to the Utah Festival with Hit Man, his latest film that he directed and co-wrote with the film’s lead actor Glen Powell. The two have combined to create a sure-fire hit that will definitely be one of the year’s funniest and most enjoyable films.

Richard Linklater’s filmography spans many genres, and contains many classics. From Dazed and Confused to School of Rock, Boyhood to the Before trilogy. While he might not have one certain Auteur style, his films tend to always share a common theme of being easy, enjoyable watches.

Hit Man might have the potential to be his biggest crowd pleaser of his career.

hit man

The film is based on a true story and centers on its main character, Gary Johnson, a very real person. Johnson is played by Glen Powell, who burst on the scene with Top Gun: Maverick. Powell gives the performance of his career showing unbelievable range and impeccable comedic timing playing a teacher turned techie turned special police helper.

The film hits its groove when Johnson, through a series of events, falls into an opportunity to play an undercover hitman. The unassuming, unconfident Johnson gets the opportunity to step into another person’s skin, and what comes out is a transformation into someone so confident and striking you start to see exactly why Powell was cast in this role.

For each unknowing person looking for a hitman, Johnson creates a different character, a different persona and at times a very different look. It is striking to see the range and fun Powell is pulling off here and not what I was expecting when I first heard of this film.

The film takes a wild turn when he crosses paths with a hopeful customer named Madison played by Adria Arjona. Arjona is able to stand toe to toe with Powell who is hitting on all cylinders and the two share one of the best comedic intense shouting matches I can ever remember on screen.

As I said at the beginning this film is just a lot of fun. It takes on multiple genres from Rom-Com, Film Noir, and Cop drama and seamlessly intertwined them into a film that flies by. The chemistry between the two leads and a great comedic supporting cast led by Retta provide laugh after laugh.

The film was greeted with a standing ovation Monday evening in Park City and has already been picked up by Netflix.