Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: John C. Reilly, Diego Luna, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Peter Mullan, Zitto Kazann
Director: Gregory Jacobs
John C. Reilly, Diego Luna and Maggie Gyllenhaal navigate the con-or-be-conned world of the L.A. grift in a clever caper directed by Gregory Jacobs and produced by Jacobs, George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh. A $750,000 o... more »
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Member Movie Reviews
Michel D. (michelann) from WALNUT GROVE, MO
Reviewed on 6/26/2015...
Criminal is a highly entertaining “caper” movie with a great cast. It picks you up and takes you along for a wild fun ride that lasts all of its 87 minutes!
John C Reilly (Boogie Nights) is always entertaining and great in any role he plays. Diego Luna (Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights) is new to me but very talented and fit in well as the small time hustler who learns the slippery trade of swindling and conniving by teaming up with Reilly’s character, Richard Gaddis.
It’s fun to watch the hustlers themselves get “taken” by even more criminals. Very entertaining all the way through!
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Mamie H. (towncar1997) from TAHLEQUAH, OK
Reviewed on 8/28/2010...
This is non-stop action with so many twists and turns in it. You will think you have it all figured out until the very end and then find out you were totally Wrong! Good Movie.
3 of 3 member(s) found this review helpful.
A Big Bravo! for this California Transplant from Argentina!
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As one of the many foreign film devotees who rank writer Fabián Bielinsky's 2000 film NUEVE REINAS from Argentina as one of the best caper films ever, I was completely satisfied with the 'American made version' CRIMINAL. Bielinsky co-wrote this screenplay with director Gregory Jacobs and the result is a terse, witty, fascinating, intelligent film that deserves 5 stars in every category.
Transposing the story (which takes place in one day) to Los Angeles opens up even more avenues of social comment than the original. The use of the various areas of LA that span from the wealth of Beverly Hills to the grandeur of the downtown Biltmore Hotel to the scruffy East LA neighborhoods and other underbellies of Sun City truly match the flow of the story.
Smarmy Richard Gaddis (John C. Reilly) is a small time crook who has experienced every aspect of con games. He dresses like a businessman, drives a Mercedes, and believes that if you're going to con the wealth out of money (which he does without conscience), you must look professional. He observes Rodrigo (Diego Luna) in a cafe doing some very minor con games and when Rodrigo is apparently 'caught', Richard acts the part of a vice officer and saves Rodrigo from being arrested. Here begins their partnership: Richard needs a sideman to assist in an important grifter scheme involving selling a valuable money bill (instead of the stamps with nine queens of the original); Rodrigo (who Richard re-names Brian to Anglicize him so he won't appear a Cholo) needs big money to pay off his father's gambling debt. Through a series of introductory can games they learn to 'trust' each other and the big game begins.
The fast and furious process of the big grift flows with many incidents that are clever, convincingly intriguing, and introduces many characters in its path, each of whom plays a more major role than anyone would expect... Maggie Gylenhaal as Richard's sister Valerie (concierge at the Biltmore) is pulled in unwillingly only after she forces a 'truth session' involving Richard's cheating on their inheritance in front of their brother Michael (Jonathan Tucker), the original forger of the bill Ochoa (Zitto Kazaan), the hit who buys the bill Hannigan (Peter Muller), and all of the apparent bit people in the scheme are superb.
Throughout the story Rodrigo/Brian is portrayed as warm, loveable smalltime beginner, though always ready with a clever intervention, and Richard is the know-it-all conflicted 'boss'. How this relationship mutates is just plain fine writing and acting and the ending of the film is a terrific surprise even to those who know NUEVE REINAS well! Reilly and Luna are perfect choices for these multifaceted roles. Highly Recommended! Grady Harp, April 05
Refreshingly different and quite mesmerizing
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 06/29/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There's a really unusual feel to this film, with gritty cinematography that seems to reside somewhere between motion picture and documentary styles. Early on, it doesn't even feel like a movie, as it had me wondering why this film didn't have any musical score to speak of. Given time, though, Criminal really took off - and I must say the rather hip musical score that does indeed emerge really helps carry the mood and feel. I've never heard of Nueva Reinas (Nine Queens), the 2000 Argentinean original upon which the film is based, but Criminal does have something of a foreign feel to it and scores major points with its complicated con man deluxe storyline.
What begins as a day in the life of professional con man Richard Gaddis (played ably by John C. Reilly) turns into "the big sting" with lots of surprises along the way. You can't really relax, as new elements consistently pop up to interrupt the flow and keep you on your toes. Gaddis spots a kid hustling waitresses at a local casino and takes it upon himself to make the kid, Rodrigo (Diego Luna), his new partner. Gaddis "Angloes up" his name to Bryan, and the two basically walk all over town pulling two-bit cons orchestrated by the older mentor. Then, Gaddis walks into a potentially killer score when a former associate pops up with an extremely rare Treasury bill (which is intricately made but completely counterfeit) and asks Gaddis to make the sell to a filthy rich collector who, as it turns out, has to leave the country by the next morning (which means there won't be much time for intricate analysis of the note). A lot of roadblocks emerge on the road to this easy score, not the least of which is Gaddis' estranged sister Valerie (Maggie Gyllenhaal), who becomes an intricate part of the deal. Gaddis has literally everything riding on this "transaction," and it ends up being one roller coaster of a ride. There's a big twist at the end, and I really can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. It's a good thing until you stand back and ask a few pointed questions about the whole story, but it's certainly entertaining as it happens.
A story like this won't fly without talented actors who can sell it, and the cast of Criminal is really excellent. Luna looks uncomfortably like Cha-chi from Happy Days from certain angles, but don't let that bother you. Just sit back and go with the flow, resisting the urge to overanalyze everything as it happens, and you will almost certainly come away feeling you got your money's worth from this refreshingly different film."
A Brainy Adaptation with a Brain-Dead Title
Bart King | Portland, Oregon | 10/22/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was entirely impressed with the 2002 Argentinian movie "Nueve Reinas" ("Nine Queens") on which CRIMINAL was based. In fact, the foreign film was so expertly written and paced, I was mostly curious to see what sort of a rip-off hatchet job the American version would look like. (What's up with that brain-dead title?)
More fool me. The cast (primarily John C. Reilly, Maggie Gyllenhall, and Diego Luna) work their parts well, and the plot is still pretty drum-tight. And while downtown LA may lack the texture of Buenos Aires, it yields its own interesting visuals. If you like a tidy little caper film with some nice twists, give this CRIMINAL a spin. Once you get to the end, you'll be tempted to back up and watch how pieces of the puzzle fit together.
SIDELIGHT: Listening to the soundtrack and watching the film's rhythms, I was reminded of Steven Soderbergh's underrated film, OUT OF SIGHT. More genius me. Subsequent research shows that Soderbergh assistant director Gregory Jacobs was at CRIMINAL's helm, Soderbergh himself co-wrote the screenplay under a pseudonym, and George Clooney (star of OUT OF SIGHT) is an executive producer. Yayness."