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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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Two con artists try to swindle a stamp collector by selling him a sheet of counterfeit rare stamps (the "nine queens").

Director: Fabián Bielinsky
Stars: Ricardo Darín, Gastón Pauls, Leticia Brédice
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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
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

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 <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

By the time you figure it out ...you've been had. 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 Nueve Reinas (2000) starring Ricardo Darin and Gaston 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

Bookish Man: [examining the Treasury bill] The portrait is lifelike and stands out distinctly. The hairlines and the points on the seals are sharp and even, with very well-defined outlines. The background density is accurate and very well balanced. My opinion, subject to further testing, is this article is genuine.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The only opening credit is the title. See more »

Connections

Remake of Nine Queens (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

El Guanajuatense
Written by Alberto Regalado
Performed by Banda Salvatierra
Courtesy of Arhoolie Productions, Inc.
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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