Martin Q. Blank – possibly the best name for a professional hitman going through a career/life crisis – blows an assignment. For his sins, Blank must return to his home town for the first time in ten years to attend his high school reunion, and handle another hit on the side.
Upon his return, Blank (played to angst-ridden perfection by John Cusack) is distraught to find his mother suffering dementia in a managed care facility and his childhood home replaced by a convenience store.
Nevertheless, the trip is not entirely wasted. Blank meets up with Debi (Minnie Driver), who he jilted the night of the prom, in order to join the Army, where he was plucked from the ranks as a promising candidate for working as an unofficial government intelligence agent, aka, a spook. And thus the need to assassinate people now and then.
As Blank gets to know Debi, and postpones performing his job, it becomes increasingly clear that Blank and Debi should be together.
And with any luck they will consummate their togetherness. Assuming the guy who was originally assigned to the hit Blank’s stuck with doesn’t kill Blank first. And then there’s the FBI – the hopelessly boneheaded guys in suits – following Blank, waiting for him to do his job, so they can nab him in the act.
Now, since it’s the weekend of the tenth anniversary reunion of the one high school in town, Debi (who’s a DJ, of course) sets the mood by making it an all-vinyl, 80s weekend.
And so the plot unfolds to the strains of the Violent Femmes, The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and A-ha, courtesy of Debi the DJ – or her replacement, when she’s hanging out with good old Martin, the jilting bastard.
The ending was truly clever. Our hero endures that “all is lost” moment, but manages to redeem himself.
What else is there to say about a film that explores the work-life balance complications of an assassin? A 90s movie that feels like an 80s film?
I’d say it’s so awesome, it merits two thumbs up.