Flinch is a fresh approach to the classic “hitman’s job goes wrong” thriller that will ask viewers what happens when said hitman faces a moral dilemma when there is a seemingly innocent witness. Flinch follows a young hitman, Joe Doyle (Daniel Zovatto), who is chasing his latest target, city council member Ed Terzian (Tom Segura). When the councilman’s assistant Mia (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) witnesses Doyle commit a murder, he knows he should take her out but can’t bring himself to do it. Instead, he takes her back to his house, where he lives with his mother (Cathy Moriarty), while he figures things out. But things get complicated fast as Doyle falls for Mia, realizing quickly that there’s more to her than meets the eye.
Zovatto breathes life into the otherwise quiet and unassuming Joe, who really just wants to do his job and disappear again. He’s a stoic character who, even though he kills people for a living, has a strong moral compass that won’t let him simply kill the intriguing Mia. Instead he kidnaps her, much to the irritation of his highly protective (and sometimes comical) mother who attempts to off Mia herself more than once. But when she realizes Joe wants to keep Mia around, she does lay off the murder attempts and even tries to bond with Mia on more than one occasion. Things continue to devolve when Mia’s sudden disappearance raise suspicions from all parties involved in the hit, and we’re left to wonder exactly who Mia is that so many alarm bells go off. People are looking for her and it forces Joe, Gloria, and even Mia into scrambling to cover his tracks. Zovatto’s portrayal of the conflicted and tortured Joe will keep viewers hooked as he grapples with his feelings for Mia and desire to keep his mother safe and out of the crosshairs now squarely on his back. Cobham-Hervey gives an excellent and realistic performance to Mia’s situation with just enough reserved calm to let us know she’s not your average kidnap victim. She doesn’t have many lines but her faux panic when Joe is in the room followed by a couple clever escape attempts keeps us guessing at why “she didn’t flinch.”
It’s the same reason Joe keeps her alive in the first place, and as a viewer we definitely see it. Mia is much more collected and rational as she thinks on her feet in the impossible situations she finds herself in, and believe me there is more than one. Slowly over the course of the movie, Joe’s feelings deepen while Mia seems to warm up to her captor. The pacing suffers slightly with the big twist happening just 20 minutes before the end of the movie. It’s a great twist but also left me wishing more time was spent fleshing out the backstory, as it was one of the best moments of the film.
Overall, Flinch is one that will speak to fans of crime based thrillers that examine the morality within us all. If it’s all shade of gray, where do we each draw that line? Flinch will open in select theaters on January 15, and will be available to stream on TVOD starting January 21.