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Life of Crime - Film Review

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by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events. www.weekendnotes.com/profile/121822
Published September 22nd 2014
Crime doesn't pay or are there exceptions?
Image appears courtesy of Madman Entertainment Pty. Ltd


Crime movie buffs will recognise Life of Crime as a prequel to Tarantino's Jackie Brown, which was based on Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch. The two seamy crims played by Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson in Tarantino's movie are played by John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey, better known as Mos Def, the hip-hop star.

Image appears courtesy of Madman Entertainment Pty. Ltd


Set in the 1970's, both of these two career criminals, Louis Gara (John Hawkes) and Ordell Robbie (Yasiin Bey), this time round appear more likable and not as sordid; possibly due to the humor that continually occurs due to their constant bungling and their having to make adjustments in their kidnapping and attempted extortion of one million dollars for Margaret "Mickey" Dawson (Jennifer Aniston), the housewife of Frank Dawson (Tim Robbins), a shonky businessman, who has been conducting a sham and hiding a fortune in a tax-shelter bank in the Bahamas. The ransom attempts come unstuck when the unexpected happens when Frank who has been cheating on Mickey with his younger girlfriend Melanie (Isla Fisher), reveals he is filing for divorce and declares he doesn't want his wife back, setting off another sequence of unexpected events. What is typical of Leonard is both women are a lot smarter than the men in their lives, which adds further joy to the story.

Image appears courtesy of Madman Entertainment Pty. Ltd


The entire cast are marvellous in their roles. Although I have always enjoyed Aniston in Friends, it was good to see another side to her in the female lead role that is so different to what we used to seeing from her. She clearly shows more of her talent. Robbins plays Frank, the over-bearing, unprincipled drunkard husband with great conviction. Fisher is sexy and clever as Frank's girlfriend, as she looks out for her own interests. The three crims played by Hawkes, Yasiin Bey and Mark Boone are so believable as they each bring lots of humour and excitement to the plot. Boone as the obese neo-Nazi gun-runner just keeps moving the narrative along. There seems to be no end to the confusion and mayhem he creates.

Image appears courtesy of Madman Entertainment Pty. Ltd


The movie offers a good mixture of suspense and black humour as what appears initially to be a simple fool proof plan for a number of reasons goes haywire with entertaining outcomes and a surprising climax. I didn't, but my friend found the story briefly slow during the early part, but overall we agreed the movie is clever, thrilling and offers lots of twists and unexpected turns in the plot, which is to be expected being the creative work of Elmore Leonard.



We saw the preview at the Trak Cinema at Burnside. I would like to thank the management for taking the initiative prior to screening of the movie, in reminding patrons to consider others and not talk during the screening. Everyone did as was asked.

It is a pity other theatres don't instigate the same policy. Once upon a time all cinemas did. Sadly, without this reminder some people persist in talking and spoiling the movie for other patrons. Please let us know your feelings on people talking during the screening of a movie.


*** 1/2 out of *****
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Why? This movie offers a good mixture of suspense and black humour as what appears initially to be a simple fool proof plan for a number of reasons goes haywire with entertaining outcomes and a surprising climax.
When: Commences 25 September 2014
Cost: Check with cinema.
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