Movies like Hit Man: With Hit Man, Richard Linklater, and Glen Powell have cemented a fruitful partnership worthy of the film’s burgeoning success on Netflix. Though not nearly up to the incredibly high standard the Texan director has set for himself over the past few decades, his latest effort still finds Linklater doing what he does best: banking on the strengths of his stars for the benefit of a healthy back-and-forth that makes the experience feel fully collaborative, a collaboration between Linklater and Powell just as much as it is a collaboration between them and the audience.

In honor of Hit Man finally breaking onto Netflix after nearly a year of post-Venice hype, it only makes sense to look upon the ready-made crowd-pleaser and recommend some other movies sure to scratch the many itches that Linklater’s latest does as well. Shoot-em-ups, searing romantic comedies, and slick noir—Hit Man evokes them all. Now, we’re going to take a look at a few of the movies that spread their seeds to this jovial resting place. Here are eight movies to watch if you like Hit Man:

1. Before Sunset (2004)

Tonally speaking, Before Sunset may not be a precise match to Hit Man—the film’s comedic leanings certainly play a distant second fiddle to its primary focus of aching romance—but the spirit of Linklater’s enduring style is all but distilled in his Before trilogy, and Sunset (the middle chapter) makes the best use of his skills.

The reunion of instant heaven-made match Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline nine years after their chance encounter in Vienna, Before Sunset not only captures the distinctly human essence of Linklater’s work but also parallels Hit Man in one important respect; unlike its predecessor Before Sunrise, the sequel finds the director actually collaborating with his stars on the screenplay, ensuring an enhanced richness of characterization. Applying this same technique with his newest film (Glen Powell co-wrote it), Hit Man is sure to make an interesting counterpoint to one of Linklater’s quintessential features.

2. Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Movies like Hit Man on Netflix - Top Gun Maverick

Perhaps the most left-field pick to make this list is another sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, in which Tom Cruise reprises his iconic (now titular) role as an aging fighter pilot training the next generation of charismatic, trigger-happy hot-shots. The reason for its inclusion here? Powell happens to be among that next generation, and his supporting appearance here makes it unmistakably clear that his brand of charisma is exactly the sort of movie star-ready juice desperately needed in the Hollywood machine right now.

Banking on the friction that Powell manifests between himself and the film’s actual young lead, Miles Teller, Maverick ensures that Cruise is leaving the industry in good hands (if he ever actually decides to slow that famous Cruise run into a light jog, that is). Much of the hubbub surrounding Hit Man has been about how it’s the perfect star vehicle for Powell—a bonafide headliner just waiting for his shot at the big leagues—and Top Gun: Maverick makes the case for his worthiness better than any other offering. At the very least, it’s a better choice than Anyone But You

3. Double Indemnity (1944)

Movies like Hit Man - Double Indemnity

There is undoubtedly a screwball element to the tone of Hit Man that permeates throughout the film—Linklater himself will be the first one to tell you this—but invoking the stylings of classic Hollywood for his latest populist vehicle would also be beneficial to look to the seedier corners of the Golden Age for some of the director’s inspirations.

Basically creating the tenets of film noir from scratch, Billy Wilder’s impermeable classic Double Indemnity rests just as much of its success on the chemistry of its leads—Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck as co-conspirators in a life insurance fraud that goes haywire—as Hit Man. To that end, there’s a comfortable consistency to Wilder’s words that conceals the palpable tension of his plot, something that gives Double Indemnity an extra edge to make any film of this era a treat to behold. Cited as an influential classic by damn near everyone, from Alfred Hitchcock to Quentin Tarantino, Double Indemnity is doubtless a strong tonic from the silly hijinks gleefully populating Linklater’s film.

4. True Romance (1993)

Speaking of Tarantino… 

While Linklater’s screenplays have often been lauded for their amiable, casual nature—like the fly-on-the-wall conversations of old pals just shooting the breeze—Quentin Tarantino’s have been noted for the erratic pulpy poeticism of a man who always knows exactly the right line to put into a character’s mouth. True Romance is one of the earliest instances of this, for while Tarantino had relinquished directing duties, mega-stylist Tony Scott took his words and ran with the central sentiment of the story—three guesses as to what that might be—to craft one of the more vigorous expressions of lovelorn attachment this side of the 1990s.

This one tells the story of two young lovers (Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette) who, on a whim, decide to get hitched and run off to Hollywood to live it up and sell the stash of cocaine they’ve accidentally acquired from the lady’s former pimp. Throwing back to a time when a film like Hit Man would have been given a wide theatrical release and performed like gangbusters at the box office, True Romance takes a decidedly different avenue to explore similar themes of where love, deceit, and violence all intersect in the bloodiest of fashion.

5. Baby Driver (2017)

Coming up on a romantic action-drama more contemporary to Hit Man’s release, Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver finds the British comedic-action filmmaker following up on his acclaimed Cornetto Trilogy with the story of a getaway driver with tinnitus who falls in love with a local waitress as endlessly alluring as his beloved music, just as he prepares for one last heist. If you can find a way to get past the fact that nearly every male cast member of the film has since been implicated in some form of abusive behavior, Baby Driver is, as a film, a raucously entertaining and kinetic action comedy making such great use of those actors that you might have to enjoy it beyond your better judgment (remember, tons of people have worked on these films…).

Like Hit Man, Baby Driver employs a level of effortless cool that, once you dig into the details, actually requires a fair bit of effort after all. (In fairness, Hit Man probably gets away with the effortlessness of it all far more than Wright’s more controlled vision.) More comfortable behind the wheel than behind the barrel of a gun, this film nevertheless finds the excitement hidden beneath the dangers of its chosen tool.

6. Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

You know what… I’m standing by this choice! On the one hand, there is little in Pedro Almodóvar’s seminal classic Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown—about the tribulations of various women as they endure the hellscape that is a male-led world of abuse and neglect—that can be drawn as a direct point of reference for Hit Man; different sub-genres, different tones, different character archetypes.

At its base level, though, the greatest appeal of Hit Man is that it’s simply a fun time that makes good use of its characters, and no artist understands this principle better in a wacky comedic context than Almodóvar. Moreover, the film’s foregrounding of female voices makes for an interesting counterpoint to Linklater’s prominent use of Adria Arjona as Glen Powell’s partner-in-screen-time, who exhibits her own refreshing and unexpected sense of agency that, like the women in Almodóvar’s film, evolves in unforeseen ways. If nothing else, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown is short, spicy and full of kick; well worth the trip down to MUBI once you’ve run through your Netflix queue.

7. The Lady Eve (1941)

Returning to that screwball comedy influence that Linklater has expressed for Hit Man, The Lady Eve has been listed directly as one of the sources of the new film’s specific romantic charm. Following a stealthy con artist (Barbara Stanwyck; welcome back!) who begins to fall for her sympathetic if somewhat oafish mark (Henry Fonda), Preston Sturges’s classic film is probably his best in that it makes the most effective use of his cast and plays to their greatest skillsets—Stanwyck’s boundless charm and Fonda’s equally boundless likeability.

The push-and-pull that guides the film is not at all dissimilar to what Powell and Arjona manage to concoct in Hit Man, as the circumstances guiding their union and wedging their way within are the stuff of classic screwball comedy, with a decidedly more sinister twist courtesy of Linklater’s desire to play with his viewers. There are no guns or poisons to be found in The Lady Eve, but the film is just as likely to get you in a chokehold through sheer seductive allure, just as it is with Hit Man.

8. In Bruges (2008)

Whatever you want to say about the quality of this list up to this point, it would probably be even worse if I didn’t take the time to include at least one comedy that actually relates to Hitmen. With that in mind, we might as well pick one that actually makes a quick, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it onscreen cameo in Hit Man, Martin McDonagh’s breakthrough feature debut In Bruges, about a pair of inept Irish hitmen (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) who lay low in the titular Belgian village after a hit gone wrong.

Employing a razor-sharp, Oscar-nominated screenplay (which, in some respects, may not have exactly aged all that beautifully since 2008), In Bruges finds its strengths in the chemistry between its dynamic trio of foul-mouthed Anglo-Europeans (Farrell, Gleeson, and a gloriously profane Ralph Fiennes) to examine the true meaning of friendship behind the veneer of a few Guinesses and the occasional splatter of brain matter on a church floor.

Hit Man may be a cleaner film—in content and in style—but that grimy, eurocentric flavor is precisely what makes something like In Bruges a perfect contrast of taste to whet that appetite for solid laughs, memorable characters, and bursts of unexpected brutality. Crack open a cold one, grab the popcorn, and turn on those subtitles because it’s going to be a feckin’ good time!

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