Monday, June 14, 2010

Pros and Cons

I recently watched "Criminal," the 2004 film starring John C. Reilly and Diego Luna as two con men chasing a big score. It was enjoyable enough but like most con movies, it was ultimately frustrating.

Most of these movies (e.g., "Confidence," "Heist") rely on a ridiculous number of coincidences and twists of fate. That's fine, but watching these movies I feel that writers and directors overuse these devices to get to the last, great twist. Consequently, they're starting to feel as gimmicky and formulaic as a summer blockbuster and exceptional examples like "The Sting" and "The Grifters" now feel like warm, distant memories.

"Criminal" was the same way. After watching it, the girlfriend and I had too many unanswered questions, starting from how Luna and Reilly first met to the very last scene. I don't mind smoke and mirrors, but I hate when that's all a movie relies upon, so much so that it eats away at common sense and logic.

I'm starting to wonder if there will ever be another great con-man movie. I sure hope so.

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