Cameron Van Hoy’s “Flinch” is an indie crime-thriller that immerses itself into the world of a street-level hitman with a capable ease. And the result is a grounded story of both sudden love and consequences. Under the surface of that framework the energy between the two lead characters simmers from the emotionally charged chemistry delivered in their performances. All of this was why I felt the movie was a success, and why I felt it was able to weave a unique path of its own, inside of an already cluttered genre of film.
The story centers on a small-time hitman that reluctantly takes on a job. During this job, a woman witnesses him killing his target. This is the same woman he shared a moment with at a café earlier, and he makes the choice not to kill her. A decision that will instantly create tension with his employers who are not too fond of witnesses. It’s a relatively cut-and-dry story overall and that’s where I felt it thrived. The story progression didn’t try to do too much. It also didn’t simply explore the usual character-mold we are accustomed to seeing in movie assassins, and that was appealing.
Here, Joe was a hitman that still lived with his mother in a common home. He didn’t wear suits or have top of the line weaponry. He also doesn’t take on these exotic international contracts. He works for a local crime-boss, and both his appearance and common day-to-day life are much like many others. This was able to give the film a strong feeling of authenticity. Something that naturally made the story more immersive as his decision to keep this girl alive changes his own life in an instant. The story-line focuses on the drama more than it does the gun-play and killing and with a tightly written script, it was surprisingly intriguing, despite being familiar in places.
The performances were another strong aspect. Both Daniel Zovatto and Tilda Cobham-Hervey brought the depth needed to make these roles work. These characters-types were not extremely unique. However, with the range of emotion and the intensity that Zovatto and Cobham-Hervey poured into their roles. Not to mention the believable passion between them. They certainly heightened the material to make this an effective upper tier indie crime-drama. With veteran names like Steven Bauer, Cathy Moriarty, and David Proval surrounding them with legitimate supporting characters.
The middle-act does run long. It could’ve been trimmed in paces to prevent the pace from slowing down. Yet it wasn’t a deal breaker by any means. It gets going quickly and weaves through the seedy underworld and a tale of random love with a strong balance. There’s also an element of unpredictability as to who will live, who won’t, will they end up together, or on their own new path in life. All of which were story options that created a nice layer of curiosity while watching, one that was able to keep me nicely invested until the end.