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Criminal Review


Weak
Argentinian filmmaker Fabian Bielinsky enjoyed a surprise hit in 2002 with his crackling con artist scheme Nine Queens. The intricate thriller about an established crook and his inexperienced protégé moved at such a rapid clip that it left your head swimming with twists until all the facts finally crashed into the table.

Criminal, first-time director Gregory Jacobs' generically-titled attempt at an American remake, performs the cinematic equivalent of the doggie paddle. It takes Bielinsky's well-paced con and changes just enough so that the story no longer makes any sense.

Continue reading: Criminal Review

Criminal Review


OK

It's almost always a good sign when a movie jumps right into a pivotal scene, not bothering with opening credits, establishing scenes or any pre-fabricated title sequence.

It means the filmmaker is focused on telling a good story, and in "Criminal," director Gregory Jacobs wastes no time showing a very green small-time con artist (Diego Luna) being rescued from arrest by a life-long (but no less petty) short-con expert (John C. Reilly) who had been watching him pull a clumsy $20 scam on several casino waitresses.

In need of a new partner, Reilly takes the kid under his wing, and in a matter of hours they've swindled $200 from a little old lady (while butting heads over Luna's hypocritical selective conscience), ripped off a restaurant for another $100 in a change scam, and faked a minor car accident to get a stranger to pony up for gas money -- all in a day's "work" for the unconscionable elder crook.

Continue reading: Criminal Review

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