Movie #218 Criminal
(2004, US, d. Gregory Jacobs)
Here is a caper film that does a surprisingly good job of grabbing your attention. John C. Reilly plays Richard Gaddis, the sleaziest of sleazy con men. When we are first introduced to him, he drives a Mercedes, dresses in suits, and is sipping a drink when he spontaneously decides to recruit fresh blood: Rodrigo (played by Diego Luna). But then we discover he is the con man who puts an hour of effort to make $100 at a restaurant, complains loudly so as not to pay a bill, and tries to steal ladies’ purses. To top it off, his family hates him for a similarly disgusting act he made earlier. But this character knows exactly who he is and what he wants and for that, it is very easy to love him. The movie is quite funny, intriguing, and intense – that is, until the last 2 minutes in which the writers are able to throw everything away to insert the one lame heist cliche: the twist at the end that it was… Well I can’t tell you that but I’ll just say it tries to go so out of its way to create a new reaction from the audience when what it had already created was more than satisfactory. Rodrigo and Gaddis roam the streets of Los Angeles over the course of 24 hours and try to pull off their biggest scam yet in Criminal, a movie based off an Argentine film Nine Queens, but does a good job of standing on its own two feet.