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Criminal

February 21, 2011

Awesome Poster

As I was browsing through the massive amount of random movies on NetFlix On Demand, I stumbled on this gem of a film, which doesn’t normally happen to me when I pick a random movie from NetFlix. First of all, the poster is amazingly designed, which normally means that the people behind the movie actually put time into it instead of just throwing together the typical floating heads, dramatic background poster. I love con man movies, maybe because I, and probably everyone else in the world, secretly wants to be an awesome con-man and pull off some ridiculous job while screwing the man. But what makes this movie different from the rest of the run of the mill con movies is that the morality of what a con-man is really willing to do is a key factor, and becomes even clearer when the final twist is laid on the audience, which happens to be a great twist. The one hold-up I had before watching this was John C. Reilly. It’s not that I don’t like him as an actor because I thought he was incredible in Chicago, Magnolia, The Aviator, and Gangs of New York. But as of recently I have only seen him in less then dramatic roles.  I’m pretty sure the last thing I heard him say, or I should say sing, was, “If you want to get down on these hairy balls, why don’t you jump right in? There’s a crotch party right up in here!” So needless to say I was hesitant about watching a dramatic role from an actor that wore a Chewy mask through a quarter of the last movie I saw (if you haven’t picked up on it I watched Step Brothers last week). But I saw that this was from his older work, so I threw it on nonetheless.

John C. Reilly pulled through in fine fashion. Reilly co-stars with a lesser known actor named Diego Luna. Luna is a well known Spanish actor, but hasn’t been recognized very much in the States, besides for his roles in Milk and the Oscar nominated foreign flick Y Tu Mama Tambien. Luna’s character, Rodrigo, is a small time con man, trying to make minuscule scores in casinos by telling waitresses that they did not give him correct change. John C. Reilly plays Richard Gaddis, who, on the other hand, is a well experienced con man and knows the ins and outs of the business. He spots Rodrigo as the young man is about to be arrested in a casino and pull him out of there by pretending to be a police officer.

Then this happened...

Richard recognizes what Rodrigo is trying to do, and after the hopeless Mexican man explains to Richard that he needs a whole lot of dough to help his father out, Gaddis decides to take him under his wing for a day and show him the ropes. At first Gaddis is unimpressed, and continually more and more annoyed with the fact that Rodrigo’s conscience tends to get in the way of him getting work done. But when Rodrigo surprises him by getting an old woman to trustingly hand Rodrigo her purse, he begins to see a glimmer of hope and decides to keep the kid with him as his partner for the day. It just so happens that it is this kids lucky day. Richard gets a call from his sister Valerie, played by Maggie Gylenhall, who tell her brother that an old acquaintance of his is making a scene at the hotel she works at and wants him to come get the old man. Richard reluctantly goes, but upon talking to this man, who is a professional forger, learns that he has recreated a very valuable piece of old US currency worth a whole lot of money and want to sell it to the unlucky but absurdly wealthy business man that is staying in the hotel. The old man and Richard strike up a deal, and Rodrigo convinces Richard to keep him with him for the remainder of the day.

As the day progresses, the deal becomes more and more complicated, and more and more people get in on the con, making Richards life extremely difficult. Their mark also proves to be hard lined and kind of a prick. The audience gradually learns about a lawsuit going on between the Richard and his sister, in which the estate of their  deceased mother came into question and Valerie attempted to make sure that Richard did not get a part of it seeing that he went to jail twice and is a sleazy con man. At first this seemed unfair to me, possibly because I was still looking at Reilly as the hopeless innocent type like he plays in most other movies. But you learn more about Richard, the more you begin to see that this is a man that will do anything, screw anyone, push anyone under the bus to make sure he gets his money. Being a con man has to be an immoral profession, because normally you are screwing people out of their hard earned money. But Richards does not hesitate to do the same thing to his friends, co-workers and family.

John C. Reilly has a thing or two to learn from these guys. Straight class.

Rodrigo ends up playing an integral part in the con, but the majority of the film really focuses on how far Richards will go to get this deal done. This includes embarrassing himself, begging, giving everything he has away, and disgracing his family. I will not give away the twist at the ending because I highly recommend that you out there check it out for yourself, but I will say that this movie gives a new perspective on how glamorous and moral the life of a con man really is. And how every person gets what is coming to them. Here is the trailer, hope you enjoy it!

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