Monday, September 4, 2017

Criminal (2004)

Synopsis: Experienced mid-level con artist finds himself playing father-figure and gets taken to the cleaners. Wait, wasn’t that basically the plot of Matchstick Men
Blurb From the DVD Jacket: “Think of them as working men who work the angles. Rodrigo is the rookie. Richard is the mentor who knows crime like a book. But a new book is about to be written.” 
What Did I Learn?: The biggest “jerk-off” - beyond family - is jobs, as you work all day, people constantly tell you what to do, and on top of it all, they can fire you. 
Really?: So, Rodrigo’s plan to ingratiate himself into Richard’s good graces is to (badly) pull a con close to him in a casino, and hope Richard not only takes an interest, but actually comes to his rescue? That seems awfully contrived. 
Rating: John C. Reilly does an admirable job of carrying Criminal - a compelling character-driven caper picture about a day in the life of an aging (and fading) con man. The film tends to drag in places, and none of the characters are all that likeable or sympathetic (with the possible exception of Rodrigo), but I came away from Criminal thinking I better understood what makes a selfish, and completely amoral guy like Richard tick, thanks to Reilly’s performance. 7/10 stars.

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