Academy Award-winning actress Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, and Annette Bening star in this acclaimed hit where seduction and betrayal could lead to murder. When small-time cheat Roy Dillon (Cusack) winds up in the hospital following an unsuccessful scam, it sets up a confrontation between his estranged mother Lilly (Huston) and sexy girlfriend Myra (Bening). Both Lilly and Myra are ruthless confidence artists playing the con game in a league far above Roy … and always looking for their next victim. The question soon becomes who’s conning who as Roy finds himself caught in a complicated web of passion and mistrust. —Miramax Home Entertainment
Frears was born in Leicester, England to an Anglican father and a Jewish mother. Attended the Trinity College in Cambridge before starting his carreer in television where he contributed to several high-profile series such as the BBC’s Play for Today. In the mid-1980s he came to prominence as an important director of British and later American films. It was his production of the one-off drama My Beautiful Laundrette for Channel 4 in 1985 that led to his notice as a capable film director when the production was released theatrically to great acclaim. He next directed another successful British film, the Joe Orton biopic Prick Up Your Ears in 1987, followed by a second film from a Hanif Kureshi screen play, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid. The following year he made his Hollywood debut with Dangerous Liaisons. Frears had another critical success with The Grifters, for which he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director but suffered a major box office disappointment with Hero, starring… read more
I waited until now to watch this to not be swayed by the Oscar buzz of the day. Cusack is too bland and Bening is too cartoonish for this to have any legs to stand on. Huston is marvelous as always but the writing fails to support her power. The supposed noir twists are predictable in its contrived "unpredictability". Very disappointing coming from Frears.
Stephen Frears makes a mess of Westlake's strong script. While Thompson's novel is sincere in its ferocity, the film is derivative and postured. Cusack, Bening, and Huston are all talented actors, but uniformly miscast and unconvincing here. Cusack is particularly annoying in a performance that feels downright half-assed. Shoddy editing, uninspired photography, clumsy direction... bad filmmaking.
Title: The Grifters
Genre: Crime, Drama
Director: Stephen Frears
Donald E. Westlake
Anjelica… read review