Directed by: GREGORY JACOBS
Produced by: GREGORY JACOBS,
GEORGE CLOONEY AND STEVEN SODERBERGH
Starring: JOHN C. REILLY, MAGGIE
GYLLENHALL, DIEGO LUNA
Released by: Warner Independent
on the Argentinean film, Nuevas Reinas (Nine
Short: This con-job caper may seem
formulaic, but pay close attention as it
unfolds: There are unexpected and amusing
twists as you reach the finale.
Those Ties That Bind
Angeles is enjoying a starring role in several creative
films this year, the most recent of which is Criminal,
where director and co-screenwriter Gregory Jacobs'
camera turns the town into a "city of angles,"
capturing slices from gritty East L.A. to glitzy Beverly
Hills. The story revolves around sibling rivals Richard
(John C. Reilly), a two-time felon, and Valerie (Maggie
Gyllenhaal), a concierge at the Biltmore, and their
battle for a family inheritance.
The vehicle that carries Criminal along is not new—older,
wiser con hires young, seemingly naïve con and
gets done in—but the performances by Reilly
and Gyllenhaal keep the approach fresh. Reilly exposes
all the warts on the dislikeable Richard, so you’ll
cheer when Valerie pitches the final curve ball that
sends him to “the big house” for good
(three strikes and you’re out in California).
Diego Luna (Y Tu Mama Tambien) completes the three-ring
circus here as Richard’s con-job apprentice,
Rodrigo (or Brian, as Richard dubs him, thinking it
will simplify his operation).
is Jacobs’ freshman directorial effort, but
he has senior-level co-producers supporting him: George
Clooney and Steven Soderbergh. Halfway through this
caper, you may think you’ve figured it all out,
but pay close attention, as there are some unexpected
twists toward the finale.