Do you love capers? No, not the
pickled herbs that make for a delightful burst of flavor on a bagel with
lox. The Masked Reviewer is referring to the caper movie.
Things like The Sting. Grifters. Matchstick
Men. Confidence. These are the movies about cons.
No, the Masked Reviewer isn't referring to the opposite of pros, but
rather the confidence men who run little scams to take your money from
The Masked Reviewer loves these kinds of movies. In
general, they're pretty predictable because there's always a big twist,
and knowing that there's a big twist, it's usually pretty easy to see.
Nonetheless, they can be great fun to watch, and they're often filled
with great performances with morally ambiguous (but interesting)
Criminal is no exception. The performances are spot on.
John C. Reilly (who you may remember from Chicago, The Perfect Storm,
Magnolia, and...well, let's face it...he's been in a lot of movies)
is very convincing as a con man. Don't let him near your wallet.
Yeah, I'm talking to you John C. Reilly! You're not fooling
the Masked Reviewer. You've clearly been a con man in the past,
and you know how to pull off cons big and small. Diego Luna (Open
Range, The Terminal, Y tu mama tambien) is great in his role as
well. He's very convincing as an Hispanic.
The film has a number of other actors, most notably Maggie Gyllenhaal
(someone's typewriter keys were definitely sticky when they filled out
her birth certificate). She's done a number of movies, but as far
as the Masked Reviewer's concerned, she's the woman from Secretary.
The plot is great, and the writing is clever and believable.
There are few funny moments and excellent lines, but the movie as a
whole is much more satisfying than you might think. This is a
surprise to the Masked Reviewer, who hasn't seen much press for the film
at all; this shouldn't dissuade you from seeking it out. It would
be criminal to miss...um...Criminal. It's good. It
will leave you feeling completely satisfied!
This is the part where the Masked Reviewer regrets that his policy
forbids him from giving away any spoilers about the plot, because in
these kind of con-game movies, it's better to go in knowing nothing,
other than the fact that it's good. Since the Masked Reviewer
can't tell you what's so good about it, he'll just say again how good it
Actually, there is something else you should know. If you're
familiar with the Argentinean film Nine Queens, then you might
find the film very familiar, because this is an English language version
of that movie. But who watches Argentinean films? Not even
Argentineans do. They play soccer and watch American movies, just
like the rest of the world. And before all you Argentineans start
writing in with your hate mail and your death threats, the Masked
Reviewer takes it back. Argentina has produced some fine movies.
Of course, there's more recognizable talent on the producing end of
this movie: George Clooney, Steven Soderbergh (not to be confused with
Stephen Soderbergh, Steven Sodabergh, Steven Sodeberg, or Steven
Sondheim), and Dallas Maverick's owner Mark Cuban were all producers on
this film. They did a fine job.
If you like movies about the big con, this is a must see: you're
guaranteed to enjoy it more than you might think. You might also
want to check out 2002's
Who Is Cletis Tout? because that's good too, and it came and
went. The Masked Reviewer hopes this one sticks around in theaters
Expectation from the Title: The Michael Jackson story, after
he ceased to be smooth.
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Con men are nasty people, but these boys seem so nice.
The Pros: Well acted, great story, interesting all the way
through, a super handbook for people who want to rip people off.
The Cons: Ah! Wouldn't you like to know about the cons?
Sorry, the Masked Reviewer can't reveal those. Oh wait, you mean
the negative cons? Oh. Not very many to speak of.
By the way, if you're here looking for info on Maggie
Gyllenhal, or Maggie Gylenhal, or Steven Soderberg, or Steven Soderburg,
or for the movie Criminil, Crimminal, or Crimanal, the
information is here, but you spelled it wrong in your search.
That's okay. We all make mistakes, even the Masked Reviewer.