Nine Queens (2000)
Genre: Crime Drama Mystery (Argentina)
Starring: Gaston Pauls, Ricardo Darin
Directed By: Fabian Bielinsky (The Aura)
Overview: A couple of cons try to get rich quick by spending the day pawning off counterfeit stamps of the famous 'Nine Queens'.
Acting: For a couple of Spaniards, these guys ain't so bad. Apparently someone tried to redo this in Hollywood and it didn't do nearly as well. I must say that I was more impressed with the supporting cast than with the main characters. Is that called upstaging? I guess it is. Defend your title better next time...
Cinematography: There's a couple of exciting suspense scenes, that fast-paced shooting that helps set the mood, but I can't say that overall this impressed me. Formulaic much? The most interesting thing about this is that it was shot in another country, Woop-de-woo!
Script: "Why do you give me that raped virgin's look? What is it? You know my business. What did you expect?"
Sure there's a little wit here and there, a smattering of professional scriptwriting, but after all is said and done, 'deep' is not the adjective that critics will use to describe this film. No hard-edged lessons, no moral dilemmas, no endless games of check and mate. It was all just words to get to the end.
Plot: After seeing so many con movies as I have, you tend to predict and second guess every scene, wondering if it's still part of the con, who's in on it and who's playing the rube. With such films as House of Games, you're sadly not surprised at all with the twists as they're predictably forced down your throat. Perhaps the 'con film' is a little too tainted for me to completely enjoy but the end of this one finished rather well and I give a nod to a story that still had me guessing when confined to such a limited selection of possibilities.
Mood: The mood is, 'can we pull a fast-paced con in one day with a hunted veteran and a day-old newbie?'. The answer is maybe... but I'll have to get to the end to find out. *Sigh* For a film that centers around suspense, I looked at my watch far too many times. And you know what else? There was way too much math! By my calculations, by the end of the day, the dude was owing 193.6% to all his partners. Search me.
Overall Rating: 72% (Two Jackasses)
Aftertaste: I think I've given up on the Suspense Con Film. Much like the Thriller, it's far too restrictive a genre to guess anything but one of two ways. Either I got conned or I didn't. Either I got away with it or I got double-crossed. Either my partner is loyal or he'll take me for everything I've got. Either my audience figured out the plot or they didn't care to.