Aneesh Chaganty

Movie #255 The Grifters

In Uncategorized on August 9, 2011 at 10:29 PM

Movie #245 The Grifters

(1990, US, d. Stephen Frears)

Frears’ direction is often terse, well thought-out, stylish and poignant. But The Grifters seems to miss that combination more than ever. Nominated for a few top Oscars in 1990, it’s very difficult for me to understand why the film rung a bell with critics, at least. It begins with promise. Three different small-conners with different, yet intermingled, pasts all try to make money in their various ways. But unlike other con films, this lacks the appeal of watching criminals get away with things. In fact, there is nothing to get away with in the first place. The Grifters is well-written and well-paced and though it does have a certain charm to it in its non-happenings and slow realizations, it never grips you the way a film should. It may be just me, but I found it a real struggle to put myself through the whole film and not minimize the screen and peruse Reddit (if you don’t know what that is, don’t worry). John Cusack, Annette Bening, and Angelica Huston all deliver fine performances in this stylist neo-noir set in modern LA and fashioned to look like much older, but it’s simply a taste issue here. This film was not for me.


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