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"It would be criminal to"










The Masked Reviewer

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 StingGriftersMatchstick MenConfidence.  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 you.

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) characters.

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  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 is.

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.  Go Evita.

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 longer.


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.

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