“Seduction, betrayal, murder. Who’s conning who?” was the tagline for this crackling, sexy, and lovingly crafted film adaptation about a small-time twenty-something con man who is in over his head with the two con-women in his life, his seductive girlfriend and his steely, authoritative mother.
This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
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.
No offence to John Cusack, but I can't take him seriously in a neo-noir. It's not entirely his fault, though, because the characters seem overall a bit off (and whoever was responsible for the hairstyling... Yikes). What's worse is that this doesn't seem at all like a Jim Thompson story. The changes aren't huge, but they're enough to make the whole film seem mediocre at best, and the ending was completely botched.
One of the best neo-noirs. Anjelica Houston is terrific and it has a great score by Elmer Bernstein. Reminded me not of Jim Thomson, but rather Ernest Seton Thompson and his stories about animals, in particular the lives of solitary predators. Uncompromising in its bleak vision.