5.8/10
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17 user 8 critic

The Criminal (1999)

R | | Action, Drama | January 2001 (UK)
A musician is plunged into a world of femmes fatales, espionage, deceit, state-ordered executions and trial by media.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Jasper Rawlins
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Det. Insp. Walker
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Peter Hume
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Sarah Maitland
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Mason
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Det. Sgt. Rebecca White
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Harris
Jana Carpenter ...
Grace
Justin Shevlin ...
The Barker
Barry Stearn ...
Noble
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Clive
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Thomas
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Arsey Barmaid
Matthew Blackmore ...
Guy
Ingrid Bradley ...
Scantily dressed woman
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Storyline

Jasper Rawlins, a none-too-successful musician, finds himself chatting with a beautiful woman at his neighborhood bar. She goes home with him, direct and frank in answer to his nervousness. During the night, someone breaks into his flat and cuts her throat. He runs into the arms of the police, who dismiss his story, but release him while they search for the weapon. He investigates the crime, and over the next few days, meets a knowing pornographer, hit men, and other schemers. As dead bodies pile up wherever he goes, the police are soon looking for him with guns drawn. As he discovers secrets about a shadowy corporation, the police close in. Can he find someone to trust? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Innocence Is No Protection

Genres:

Action | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, violence and some sexual content | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

January 2001 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El criminal  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Peter Hume: The refugees, genocide... they're just a sideshow, distracting everyone from the real agenda: power and influence.
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Connections

References The Parallax View (1974) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ambitious, edge-of-the-seat conspiracy thriller
15 May 2001 | by (Reading, UK) – See all my reviews

The little-known and underrated Steven Mackintosh stars in this ambitious and complex British thriller which keeps you right on the edge of your seat until the end.

Sadly, the end is a little bit disappointing but when you watch this endlessly twisting conspiracy story you'll soon come to realise that it is just too clever for its own good. And while that's not exactly a compliment, at least this low budget attempt at North by Northwest proves first-time writer/director Julian Simpson is not given to compromise.

The story begins late at night in a Soho bar where unassuming thirtysomething musician Jasper (Mackintosh) is drinking alone until he's joined by stunning blonde, Sarah, played by Natasha Little. She seems very keen to go back to his place, crack open a bottle of vodka and spend the night doing whatever two broad-minded and drunk adults like to do. But at 2am there's a knock at the door and suddenly the pace of The Criminal picks up as Jasper gets a smack in the face and wakes up to find the blonde had been slashed to ribbons and he is the number one murder suspect.

Up steps Bernard Hill as a hard-bitten copper who effs and blinds his way confidently through some fairly ropey dialogue. Unable to come up with substantive evidence, he lets Jasper back on the street (pursued by bumbling police, naturally) and our hero immediately begins to unravel the very murky story behind the murder. Be prepared to pay attention very closely from this point onwards because The Criminal is not a movie for those suffering post-MTV attention deficit disorder.

Mackintosh, whose character probably seemed pretty flat on paper, is onscreen almost constantly and thankfully he's up to the job, rescuing what might otherwise be a celluloid disaster. You might not know his name, but if you've seen Lock Stock, Blue Juice or The Buddha of Suburbia, you'll know the face. There's a good role for Soldier Soldier star Holly Aird as Hill's sidekick but unwarranted top billing goes to stand-up comic Eddie Izzard, who pops up fairly unconvincingly for about ten minutes of screen time in a role that's perhaps a little too vital for someone so inexperienced. Comedy lovers should also watch out for Red Dwarf co-star Norman Lovett in a very brief cameo.

Pick it apart and The Criminal doesn't hold much water. But despite its faults (of which there are a fair few) you are going to find it very hard to switch off without finding out what happens in the end.


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