Review: The Grifters

Posted on Jul 17, 2003

I had a good time while I was watching “The Grifters”, don’t get me wrong. And not just because of Annette Bening’s boobies, which you see plenty of. John Cusack is enjoyable as always. One of the things I like about Cusack is that you can rely on him not to overact. Crime movies can get trashy in a hurry if that’s all their characters do, say, make, think

This movie steers clear of that problem. It’s not a movie about crime, scams, and grifting. That’s what the main characters do, but the movie is about them. You’ve got two women going after whatever they want, and not being inclined to stop when they encounter resistance. You’ve got a guy in the middle convinced he can play it his own way right through this stuff.

The events at the end really start straining credulity. I will try never to spoil movies here, so the only thing I’ll say is that it seems inconsistent that Angelica Huston’s character would be so thoughtless at time when she’s so together otherwise. That, of course, is in the script, not her performace, which is really very good.

I’ll also say that you will enjoy the movie a lot more if you accept, from the very beginning, that Lily (Huston) is Roy’s mother. The climax of the film will be much more exciting than if you’re waiting the entire movie for a revelation that she’s not, that it’s some kind of elaborate con on you, the viewer.

I give it a solid 7/10. It loses two points for the ‘So What?/Nothing New’ factor and one point for the questionable wrapup. Come to think of it, let’s make it a 7.5/10 with an extra .5 for the cast, which does a great job.