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Saturday, April 19, 2014 
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Cinematronic by Michael Snyder
Film
cinematronic
  Criminal cinematronic
  director

Gregory Jacobs

cast

John C. Reilly, Diego Luna, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jonathan Tucker, Peter Mullan

year

2004

rating rating cinematronic
  Less effective than the original, "Criminal" is an adequate U.S. remake of "Nine Queens," Argentinean filmmaker Fabián Bielinsky's way-sharp 2000 caper movie. There are similar scams afoot in both versions, complete with double and triple crosses. These dangerous games and the colorful figures playing them are properly North Americanized for "Criminal," but the main reason the revision holds together until its finale is an estimable cast. With John C. Reilly ("Chicago"), Diego Luna ("Y Tu Mamá También"), Maggie Gyllenhaal ("Secretary") and Peter Mullan ("Braveheart") on board, director/co-screenwriter Gregory Jacobs could relax and concentrate on his tricky script. Richard (Reilly), the veteran con man in "Criminal," takes on a new protégé (Luna) to bilk a rich businessman (Mullan) staying at the Los Angeles hotel where Richard's disapproving sister (Gyllenhaal) works as a concierge. Any problems with "Criminal" are ones of context and revelation — in "Nine Queens," the swindle is going down in the midst of Argentina's unsteady economy, and the economic volatility of the environment is crucial to the story. Latter-day L.A. doesn't have that kind of financial instability. And "Nine Queens" unfolds, ties up its plot lines and explains its twists and turns in neater, clearer, wittier style. Nevertheless, "Criminal" is an intricate diversion for mature moviegoers, and that's no crime or cause for complaint.  
cinematronic
cinematronic


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