A cold-blooded serial killer floats around the country and chooses his victims from people who complain about their lives and indicate a willingness to be killed. His murders are introduced... See full summary »
There is more to this story than this review lets on. It reflects all different facets of society over one drivers shift. He starts out it seems as a cold, ignorant man. But his character ... See full summary »
Two grifters - boyish, likable Rodrigo and the scheming, cynical Richard - meet by chance. Richard, who has cheated everyone he knows, including his siblings, is missing his partner, so he offers Rodrigo a job for a day. Rodrigo accepts because he has some savings, but needs more to pay his father's gambling debts. Richard gets a call when an aging, ill ex-associate needs help to sell a forged treasury note to a businessman whose visa is expiring the next day, a wealthy man who sees a chance to turn a quick profit buying what he thinks is a stolen document. When the con men have to improvise, Richard asks Rodrigo to use his savings to set up the deal. Is Rodrigo being conned? Written by
When Richard and Rodrigo are walking down the street, the briefcase jumps from Richard's left hand to his right hand (next to Rodrigo). See more »
You know what the biggest jerk-off of all is? Beyond family even, because you can't control your family, is jobs. I mean, this totally mystifies me. Can you believe people actually accept this? It's like you work all day, people tell you what to do all day long. You know, and then on top of taking shit all day, they can fire you.
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Before giving any kind of review, it might help to point out a few things about the film:
1) This is the only lead role i've ever seen John C. Reilly in
2) It was produced by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney - the 'Oceans Eleven' comparisons are endless
3) This is a directorial debut by Gregory Jacobs, who's previously worked with the above and others such as the Coen Brothers
4) The film is a remake of a 2000 Argentinian film called 'Nueve Reinas' (Nine Queens)
There are some things about this film that were guaranteed before hand; a razor-sharp script, cool soundtrack and stylish look. However, before attending an advanced showing of the film last night, i checked out the IMDb comments and was not expecting too much. I was, however, pleasantly surprised.
The thing to remember is that the film is not only a remake, but YET ANOTHER addition to an already exhausted Hollywood genre ('The Sting', 'Oceans Eleven' and recently 'Matchstick Men'), and so any originality was going to be hard-earned. But the script is excellent. In the early stages of the film, you feel like Reilly is being a bit heavy-handed with the mannerisms of his intentionally caricatured conman (especially for those familiar with his awesome and similarly heavy-handed and clumsy cop in 'Magnolia', it takes a bit of time to adjust!), but the character definitely grows on him. It is, if nothing else, refreshing to see an actor of his ability given the chance to dominate every scene, and on the whole he takes his chance well.
The real star though, as mentioned elsewhere, is Diego Luna. He plays a fresh-faced and naive rookie-crook who's taken on by Reilly, and throughout the film the interplay between them is a highlight. No questions asked, he steals the show. This was a surprise to me, as i haven't seen him on screen before, but a bit of research shows he was in 'Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights', so this could be some breakthrough! Maggie Gylenhaal was slightly disappointing, as she's been particularly memorable in everything else i've seen from her, but in general the supporting cast is solid.
Where the film really succeeds though, is how it knows and appreciates its audience. From the outset, 'Criminal' appears as a clichéd gag-fest revolving around the two con-men, and you are continually guessing who's going to be screwing who, and the characters often refer to just this. But the plot is complicated (or maybe uncomplicated) enough to maintain the audiences attention, and you'd be kidding yourself if you said you saw the final twist coming.
Very watchable, very cool, very funny, but perhaps in the end a little unsatisfying. Well worth checking out though.
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