(2001) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)
Gee, we've never heard this premise before. A master
con man and thief thinks he has pulled his last sting, but his fence
needs him to do ...
... you got it -
"one last job".
|The film is one of the better caper flicks I've ever
seen, and I like caper flicks, so it was really my kinda film. It has
the usual convoluted plot filled with quadruple crosses. The master is not only trying to scam the
mark, but is also scamming the fence, and his own wife. For every
sting that fails or might fail, he has a back-up plan. The general plan is to steal
some gold headed for Switzerland, and it is quite a puzzle to try to
figure out how they plan to do it, how they plan to fool each other,
and where the gold really is at any given time.
|The thing I like about Mamet's construction is that
he forces you to question the motivation behind every single action.
Is character A saying that to character B because he means it, or
because he wants character C to hear it? Does he send his wife
to the enemy camp knowing that they will automatically suspect her? Do
they let her into their confidence, or do they pretend to in order to
feed her disinformation? Once he starts the shell game, you
automatically start to think there is no pea under any of the
thimbles. Since he places you into this mode of thought, he can get
away with dialogue that has no hidden meaning, because you will
suspect it anyway, so the lack of a plot twist becomes a plot twist in
itself. Clever stuff.
The plot is fun, but it is also supported by
crackling dialogue from David Mamet, and slickly professional
performances from some of the masters (Gene Hackman, Delroy Lindo,
Danny DeVito, and the often underrated Sam Rockwell).
- with their dollars ... a loser. Made for
an exorbitant $35 million, it grossed only $23 million at
the box. The gross was predictable for this type of film,
but the budget was out of control. This movie could have
been just as good in all essential respects with a third or
a fourth of the budget.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
guideline: A means the movie is so good it
will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not
good enough to win you over if you hate the
genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an
open mind about this type of film. C means it will only
appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover
appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you
like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if
you love the genre. F means that the film is not only
unappealing across-the-board, but technically
inept as well.
Based on this
description, this film is a C+. Excellent genre film. A fun
puzzle of sting and countersting, ala The Spanish Prisoner.
Needless to say, avoid it if you don't like this kind of
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