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
U. S. adaptation of popular Argentinian film Nueve Reinas (2000) starring Ricardo Darin and Gaston Pauls. See more »
When Richard is talking to Valerie about sleeping with William (when the scene first cuts to them), his body and head are moving as if he is saying something, yet the words don't come out until 3 seconds later; then his body stops moving, yet he's still saying something. See more »
I have something for you.
Yeah, it's very special.
[gives her the ring]
It belonged to my grandmother and her mother before her.
Oh, it's beautiful.
See more »
After bearing witness to a lousy 'pull' in which wannabe con-artist Rodrigo (Diego Luna) gets busted trying to short-change a waitress, professional conman, Richard Gaddis (John C. Reilly) decides to give the boy a chance to work with an expert. Since his usual partner, 'the Jew', took off last week, Gaddis is in search of a new colleague, and agrees to give Rodrigo one day to hang out with him and see if the pairing works. Rodrigo is especially grateful for the opportunity, since he has been forced to become a criminal (temporarily, of course) to buy his father out of his gambling debts. After showing him a few impressive pulls, Gaddis summarizes that Rodrigo thinks too much, a quality that could work against him in a crisis situation. But just as Gaddis is about to cut Rodrigo off, he gets a call from his 'pain in the ass' sister, Valerie (Maggie Gyllenhaal) who tells him a man has showed up to the 4 star hotel where she works as concierge and demanded to see him. As it turns out this man, Ochoa (Zitto Kazann) has the perfect pull for Gaddis, involving a forged bank note and one very wealthy business man (Peter Mullan) who is willing to buy; but Ochoa needs the right man to make the six-figure deal. Now Gaddis needs Rodrigo to help him make this con, and also his sister who he is currently in a law-suit with .
"Criminal" is a re-make of what I am told is a less than impressive Argentine film "Nine Queens". I haven't seen this original, but I can confirm that its remake, "Criminal" is an absolute gem. Following and keeping up with other con-man flicks such as "matchstick men" and "catch me if you can", "Criminal" is smart, sleek and classy. Director Gregory Jacobs has made a very clean, bold and stylish film; with some great cinematography and superb scene editing.
John C. Reilly, who has primarily played supporting roles in some seriously prestigious films; Chicago, The Aviator, The Hours; finally gets a chance to show that he is leading-man material, and more than capable of holding his own. He can be powerful, funny and is extremely engaging. Diego Luna, who has so far had more success with his Spanish films such as the highly acclaimed "Y tu mamá también", and little success breaking into the American market with such duds as "Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights", "Open Range" and "The Terminal"; really finds his feet in 'Criminal'. He is funny, energetic and darn sexy in a role which really suits and that he makes the most of. Maggie Gyllenhaal, forever diverse, holds her own against the talented and impressive Reilly and Luna; playing a tough but cool character.
All in all, 'Criminal' is a stylized crime-caper, which is refreshingly witty, fast-paced and jazzily filmed. A definite must-see. 9/10.
8 of 13 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?