January 28, 2012 4 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Richard Giddis (John C. Reilly) is a conman, one who works well alone, but could increase his scores with a partner. When he sees Rodrigo (Diego Luna) trying to pull a scam of his own, he sees potential and decides to take a chance. He pretends to be a police officer and pulls the man aside, then offers to teach him about scams and promises big scores down the road. The two prove to be a solid team and soon enough, the partners have managed to pull off some smaller scams. All the while, Rodrigo’s skill increases and before long, the two seek out a larger score. The target is a businessman on the verge of a massive deal, just the right time to swoop down and snatch up some cash. If the plan unfolds as expected, the two will split three-quarters of a million dollars, no small sum. But when Richard’s sister decides to work against him, it becomes a dangerous prospect and no one is sure who they can trust.

In a revival of sorts, we’ve seen a rush of caper movies, heist flicks, and con cinema of late. Within this wave, the filmmakers have tried to outdo each other with twists and turns. So just when you think you have the movie figured out, a truckload of unexpected twists throws your perceptions off base. Of course, when done right, a twist can put a good movie over the top and add just the right kick to make for a memorable conclusion. But in recent years, the sucker punch end sequence has become all too common and in nine out of ten films that try, the twists turn out to be lame and unexplainable. Criminal turns out to be a no frills, small scale remake of Nine Queens and while not flashy, the film is solid. The story stays realistic too, so you’ll be trying to guess who is in on the real scam, without worrying about a lame conclusion. Warner’s disc is basic, but the movie is a decent diversion, so a rental is recommended.

Video: How does it look?

Criminal is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. As is typical for Warner, the image here looks crisp, sharp, and should please most viewers. I did note some shimmering however, as well as a couple instances of edge enhancement, though neither ever becomes much of an issue. The black levels look razor sharp and provide accurate detail level, while colors come off as natural, but also bright and vivid when needed. I wouldn’t rank this with Warner’s elite level transfers, but Criminal looks terrific, no doubt about it.

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio here is well presented, but this kind of material is not ideal for audio bliss, so don’t expect much beyond the basics. There is some nice surround presence and dynamic audio at times, but for the most part, this is dialogue driven and based in the front channels, which is what the material seems natural within. The vocals come through in clean, crisp form and the music sounds good also, no real complaints to be made. This disc also includes subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This disc includes the film’s theatrical trailer.

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