Monday, May 27, 2024

Hit Man

Ultimately the most unreal thing about Hit Man, the new Richard Linklater movie, is that it’s based on the real life story of Gary Johnson, a philosophy professor whose proclivities and abilities led him to becoming a useful member of the New Orleans police department. Gary (played by Glenn Powell who also co-authored the script with Linklater ) teaches psychology and philosophy. The bowls for his two cats are Ego and Id and he lectures on Freud and Jung as well as Nietzsche. Ervin Goffman’s The Presentation of the Self in Everyday Life isn’t mentioned in the movie, but role playing is the subject, an idea that fueled Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, though that great dramatic work isn’t mentioned either. Hit Man is a wonderfully concise title which, in itself, tells the whole story. Hit men are gangsters in the employ of organized crime, but also prime roles for a slew of “character actors’ who have impersonated them. “What if your self is a construction?” is one of the questions posed. Gary is the professor, but Ron is his doppelganger. "As if" personalities populate the scenario, but it's when the personality and the “as if  “personality” collide that the drama breaks forth in this ultimately cerebral movie. Here evolutionary and esthetic theory compete. Is justice poetic or aboriginal? The movie’s denouement cleverly addresses both, along with the extent to which man’s animal desires rule the roost.

read "Pet Buddha" by Francis Levy, Vol. 1 Brooklyn

and listen to Leonard Bernstein discussing Janis Ian's  "Society's Child."

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