You've likely seen a number of films a bit too much like Argentinean writer/director Fabián Belinksy's debut Nine Queens (Mamet's House of Games is the first that rushes too mind). This movie isn't shy about obviously referencing its influences, but it still feels confused, stuck firmly between genres. The twisting narrative clashes with elements of a traditional slice-of-life character study, and the unfocused result is a film that isn't nearly as clever as it thinks it is. Despite its flaws, however, Belinsky is still able to create an engaging story that keeps you guessing at almost every turn.
The first scene sets the tone for the entire film: Juan (Gastón Paulis), a young con man, attempts to scam the cashiers at a convenience store, using a trick designed to confuse them into giving him an excess amount of change as he breaks a large bill. When the store's manager catches him, a mysterious man named Marcos (Ricardo Darín) displays a gun and assures everyone that he's a police detective and is going to bring the thief back to the station. Marcos drags Juan outside, and then reveals himself to be a con man as well. Marcos, a seasoned hustler, offers the inexperienced Juan a chance to be his partner. Juan initially refuses, but after a little more persuasion, Marcos has found a new right-hand man.
Continue reading: Nine Queens Review