Life of Crime
Director: Daniel Schechter
Author: Daniel Schechter based on a novel by Elmore Leonard
Starring: Jennifer Anniston, Tim Robbins, John Hawkes
Storyline from IMDb.com:
Two common criminals get more than they bargained for after kidnapping the wife of a corrupt real-estate developer who shows no interest in paying the $1 million dollar ransom for her safe return.
I had never even heard of this movie until I saw the preview on a DVD I watched a couple of weeks ago. I immediately ordered it from the library (it came out on DVD in October!), and was surprised by how quickly it came in for me. This movie didn’t even gross $300,000 which is sad because while the story isn’t completely original (um, Ruthless People anyone? Although, to be fair, the novel that this movie is based on did come first), it is full of awesome actors and has a decently strong script.
Mickey Dawson (Anniston) is married to a total sleazy-ball, Frank (Robbins). Frank cheats on his wife and is hiding money in an off-shore account. He hasn’t been as sneaky as he thinks, though, because two common criminals have learned about his scheme and have decided to kidnap his wife for the ransom of one million dollars. The problem is, of course, that he doesn’t want her back, so her kidnapping is a blessing.
Again, this story has been done before, but I still enjoyed this movie. This throw-back film, set in the 70s, follows two characters fans of Leonard’s work will already be familiar with: Louis and Ordell (characters played by Robert DeNiro and Samuel L. Jackson in Jackie Brown). Partners in crime they have somewhat reluctantly joined with the Nazi-obsessed Richard in exchange of keeping their hostage at his house.
While a crime caper, the film is firmly entrenched in comedy. The audience sympathizes with Anniston for having a lousy husband and cheers for Louise especially when he and Mickey start to connect. Robbins does a good job of being a scumbag and Isla Fisher is believably shrewd as his young mistress just looking to replace Anniston as the trophy wife. The strength of this film is definitely in its actors.
Overall, this film is definitely worth its hour and forty minute run time.