The Principals: Gary Fleder (director). Scott Rosenberg (writer). Andy Garcia. Christopher Walken. Steve Buscemi. Treat Williams. William Fosythe. Christopher Lloyd. Bill Nunn. Jack Warden. Fariuza Balk. Gabrielle Anwar. Marshall Bell
The Premise: A group of diverse and colorful criminals do one last gig to help their frontman only to have the gig go wrong and land them all with a dead sentence from a ruthless and very paralyzed mobster.
Is it Good:
It’s real good. In fact, it’s a damn tragedy that this film fell through the cracks in the wake of Pulp Fiction wannabes. There were no shortage of hip crime flicks that tried to ride the crest of Tarantino’s classic, though there was a shortage of quality in them. Though the movie is somewhat precious at times, the uniformly perfect cast delivers on Scott Rosenberg’s great script and there are quite a few really fun moments spread throughout the oddball assortment of actors that make this one of those quotable mini-gems whose tiny fanbase defends it with claws out. Andy Garcia does a great job as the glue, but it’s Treat Williams and Christopher Walken who get to have the most fun. Though he never delivered anything close to this in quality afterwards, Gary Fleder (Kiss the Girls) did a great job here. I thought he was gonna be a big deal.
Is it Worth a Look: Yes.
Random Anecdotes: Where do you start? There’s the dialogue, which out of context seems odd…
“Fuck the head!”
“I am Godzilla and you are Japan!”
There’s the joy of seeing a team of cons consisting of Andy Garcia, Christopher Lloyd, Treat Williams, Bill Nunn, and William Forsythe, which is considerable. There’s the joy in the little asides regarding Christopher Walken’s paralyzed thug. There’s the joy of seeing ol’ Jack Warden and Bill Cobbs still in the mix. There’s the slender joy that is Gabrielle Anwar.
Just a lovely little flick.
Cinematic Soulmates: Confidence. The Thing’s to-do List in Denver. Out of Sight. Smokin’ Aces.