Saturday, January 21, 2006

John C. Reilly, Diego Luna, Maggie Gyllenhaal

"Ever get the feeling you are being played?"


A film about con artists. John C. Reilly is the 'criminal' who tricks people without actually pickpocketing or robbing them, neither does he use any weapon or violence to deceive them. I won't reveal what tricks he pulls through, you need to see it to believe it. He chances upon a young Mexican guy who got caught doing his own scam and rescues him posing as a detective with the LAPD. Soon enough, he hires Rodrigo as his partner and together they hit the streets conning people. They stumble upon a deal which entails them to sell a counterfeit bank note to a rich collector. A lot of people try to get their own cut from the money, twists and turns abound, he even got his younger siblings involved in some inheritance law suit.
The movie is based on an Argentinian film called "Nine Queens" and since I've never even heard of it let alone seen it, I have no basis for comparison. But "Criminal" was pretty fast paced, snappy and it sustains your attention till the end. The 'scam' wasn't as complicated as in the Ed Burns starrer "Confidence", also a grifters movie. In the end, the twist unfolds and it seems the conman was set up and everybody is happy although I think there wasn't exactly any money to be had. So be it. It was kind of like "The Matchstick Men" but it has its own characteristic flair. The 3 main actors all deliver believable performances. John C. Reilly is as always good in an under rated way. I thought that Diego Luna looked familiar and now I know why. He was the guy with Gael Garcia Bernal in "Et tu Mama Tambien". Except here he speaks English and this role seems tailored made for him!

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