The Virtuoso is a thriller the likes of which we've seen a number of times before, an assassin in a small town location with an eccentric boss and a number of people to be wary of. The major problem is that if you are going to do a film that isn't exactly the most original idea, you best bring to table something bold and remarkable enough to stick in the memory of the audience.

A lonesome stranger (Anson Mount), secure, nerves of steel, must track down and kill a rogue Hitman to satisfy an outstanding debt. But the only information he's been given is a time and location where to find his quarry - 5pm at a rustic diner in the dying town. No name, no description, nothing. When the assassin arrives there are several possible targets, including the county sheriff (David Morse). Endangering his life, the assassin embarks on a manhunt to find the Hitman and accomplish his mission. But the danger escalates when encounters with a local woman (Abbie Cornish) threaten to derail his task.

I guess it can be said that The Virtuoso does something remarkable in wasting quite an impressive cast of familiar faces and talented actors to become something so void of any personality it's hard to sit through. The writing is subpar, leading to a number of sequences that become incredibly stale rather quickly, the diner scene in particular feeling like it should be a highlight however, any attempts at creating tension in the scene fails making it a tiresome sequence by the time it comes to an end.

Speaking of that wasted cast, none of them really do anything to try and bring some character to their roles, each one straight from a pool of default characters you could choose from in this genre. Anson Mount simply does not have the presence to lead a film like this, even if his character isn't supposed to be this hitman with flair because there are some quiet and brooding characters that have gone down as some of the best in the history of film. The trio of Abbie Cornish, David Morse and Eddie Marsan try their hardest to inject some life into proceedings but with what they're given with it's near impossible.

Let's have a quick chat about Anthony Hopkins. I can sort of forgive him for doing this film as he followed it up with a terrific performance in The Father that won him the Academy Award this year. I will say that at least he seems to be trying to have some fun here and delivers his dialogue with the expected gusto from a thespian such as Hopkins in a role like this.

The decision to let the lead character narrate throughout is a painful as well, feeling very much like a "Hitman 101" manual that grates rather than entertain. Aside from a few flashy camera movements, Nick Stagliano's film is a thriller devoid of any thrills which is a cardinal sin in my book.

Verdict: ½


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