An Entertaining Caper
Film: Life of Crime
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Mos Def
Directed by: Daniel Schechter
Duration: 1 hr 38 mins
Rating: * * * 1 / 2
Based on a book by the well-known American writer Elmore Leonard (he also wrote Get Shorty and Rum Punch which was made into Jackie Brown by Tarantino) who passed away last year, Life of Crime is a pleasantly surprising little gem of a film. It’s a comic crime caper in the Coen Brothers mould and I can’t help but think what a knock out this film would have been in their hands.
But director Daniel Schechter has also done a commendable job of turning this Elmore story into a delightful watch. Set in the late 70’s in Detroit Louis (John Hawkes) and Ordell (Yassin Bey otherwise known as Mos Def) are criminals but not of the highest order. Incidentally the characters from Jackie Brown also shared the same name. Along with a burly guy (Mark Boone Jr.) who has a fascination for the Nazis, they hatch an elaborate kidnapping plan.
The target is Mickey (Jennifer Aniston) who is the trophy wife of a rich businessman (Tim Robbins, who directed Dead Man Walking), who has stashed away a lot of money abroad. When he is away on a business trip, they kidnap her alright but an expected visitor (Will Forte) who has the hots for her turns up to complicate matters. Worse, the businessman is actually on a holiday with his young mistress (Isla Fisher) and he was going to divorce Mickey anyway so the chances of paying a million dollar ransom diminish considerably. He’d rather that they kill her instead of him paying alimony leading to a rather peculiar situation.
The screenplay doesn’t show all its cards instantly, instead they are tantalizingly revealed one by one culminating in a finale that will leave you smiling. Along with peppy dialogues and some finely crafted scenes, the casting is also pitch perfect. Tim Robbins as the husband, John Hawkes and Mos Def as the kidnappers are spot on. It’s also good to see Jennifer Aniston who also plays her part with conviction, act in such films rather than the mainstream trash. All in all Life of Crime is the perfect caper for a Sunday matinee.
Published in The Navhind Times on 7th Sept 2014