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Criminal (2004)

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Two con artists try to swindle a currency collector by selling him a counterfeit copy of an extremely rare currency bill.

Director:

Gregory Jacobs

Writers:

Fabián Bielinsky (film Nueve reinas), Gregory Jacobs (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John C. Reilly ... Richard Gaddis
Diego Luna ... Rodrigo
Maggie Gyllenhaal ... Valerie
Peter Mullan ... William Hannigan
Zitto Kazann Zitto Kazann ... Ochoa
Jonathan Tucker ... Michael Gaddis
Laura Cerón ... Waitress (as Laura Ceron)
Soledad St. Hilaire ... Waitress #2
Ellen Geer ... Grandma
Brandon Keener ... Waiter / Daniel
Nick Anavio Nick Anavio ... Café Manager
Deborah Van Valkenburgh ... Woman in Elevator
Maeve Quinlan ... Heather / Soccer Mom
Brent Sexton ... Ron
Malik Yoba ... Frank Hill
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Storyline

In Los Angeles, Richard Gaddis and a Mexican immigrant named Rodrigo, both small time con men, meet in the progress of one of their cons gone wrong, the other who proves to be the savior in the situation. Richard is looking for someone to replace his old partner, "the Jew", so that he can move onto bigger cons, while Rodrigo is trying to obtain money to help his ill father pay off some major debts. Despite their differences in operation - Richard whose cons are more in your face and he working on the premise that one needs to look rich to get rich, while Rodrigo doesn't like to bring attention to himself and thus his grifting ways - they decide to join forces. Although neither fully trusts the other, their partnership is forged on what the other can do for him: Richard figures that Rodrigo's innocent look can play to their advantage, while Rodrigo - who Richard renames "Brian" to make him seem more Caucasian and thus trustworthy - sees working with Richard as a means to get to his ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Ever get the feeling you're being played? See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

24 September 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

171 See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$283,209, 12 September 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$14,688,078, 22 May 2016
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | SDDS (8 channels)| Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

U. S. adaptation of popular Argentinian film Nine Queens (2000) starring Ricardo Darín and Gastón Pauls. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Richard Gaddis: 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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The only opening credit is the title. See more »

Connections

Remake of Nine Queens (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Darn That Dream
Written by Jimmy Van Heusen (as James Van Heusen) and Edgar De Lange
Performed by Clifford Brown/Max Roach Quintet
Courtesy of The Verve Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Big Bravo! for this California Transplant from Argentina!
17 April 2005 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

As one of the many foreign film devotees who rank writer Fabián Bielinsky's 2000 film NUEVE REINAS from Argentina as one of the best caper films ever, I was completely satisfied with the 'American made version' CRIMINAL. Bielinsky co-wrote this screenplay with director Gregory Jacobs and the result is a terse, witty, fascinating, intelligent film that deserves 5 stars in every category.

Transposing the story (which takes place in one day) to Los Angeles opens up even more avenues of social comment than the original. The use of the various areas of LA that span from the wealth of Beverly Hills to the grandeur of the downtown Biltmore Hotel to the scruffy East LA neighborhoods and other underbellies of Sun City truly match the flow of the story.

Smarmy Richard Gaddis (John C. Reilly) is a small time crook who has experienced every aspect of con games. He dresses like a businessman, drives a Mercedes, and believes that if you're going to con the wealth out of money (which he does without conscience), you must look professional. He observes Rodrigo (Diego Luna) in a cafe doing some very minor con games and when Rodrigo is apparently 'caught', Richard acts the part of a vice officer and saves Rodrigo from being arrested. Here begins their partnership: Richard needs a sideman to assist in an important grifter scheme involving selling a valuable money bill (instead of the stamps with nine queens of the original); Rodrigo (who Richard re-names Brian to Anglicize him so he won't appear a Cholo) needs big money to pay off his father's gambling debt. Through a series of introductory can games they learn to 'trust' each other and the big game begins.

The fast and furious process of the big grift flows with many incidents that are clever, convincingly intriguing, and introduces many characters in its path, each of whom plays a more major role than anyone would expect... Maggie Gylenhaal as Richard's sister Valerie (concierge at the Biltmore) is pulled in unwillingly only after she forces a 'truth session' involving Richard's cheating on their inheritance in front of their brother Michael (Jonathan Tucker), the original forger of the bill Ochoa (Zitto Kazaan), the hit who buys the bill Hannigan (Peter Muller), and all of the apparent bit people in the scheme are superb.

Throughout the story Rodrigo/Brian is portrayed as warm, lovable smalltime beginner, though always ready with a clever intervention, and Richard is the know-it-all conflicted 'boss'. How this relationship mutates is just plain fine writing and acting and the ending of the film is a terrific surprise even to those who know NUEVE REINAS well! Reilly and Luna are perfect choices for these multifaceted roles. Highly Recommended!


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