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Criminal

Genre: Drama
Rated: R
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 Pictures

Based on the Argentinean film, Nuevas Reinas (Nine Queens)

In 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.

Criminal Intent
Those Ties That Bind
By Louis Charles

Los 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).

This 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.


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