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Grifters (1990)
When con artist Roy Dillon (Cusack) is visited by his Mother, Lilly (Huston), who is also a con artist, she sends Roy off to the hospital because of a blow to the gut he suffered while working the grift. Roy's girlfriend, Myra (Bening), the third con artist, comes to visit Roy, and we discover that Lilly and Myra don't get along. After he is released from the hospital, Roy and Myra go on a little trip, where he is propositioned to be partners in crime with Myra. Everything soon falls apart for the three con artists, which leads to a bloody climax.

This is an icy cold adaptation of Jim Thompson's novel about con artists, with steely ``working-woman'' Huston coming back into the life of her grown son after many years of estrangement... and finding that he's taken up with a woman much like herself. Bleak and fascinating, with three first-rate performances.
"Grifter's got an irresistible urge to beat a guy that's wise," an old-timer tells Roy (John Cusack). And yet the three characters here--played by Angelica Huston, Cusack, and Bening--only beat the innocent: Lilly (Huston) gigs at the track for a mobster named Bobo, putting wads of cash on long-shot horses to even out the odds. Roy, her son, swindles citizens by dimes and degrees, flashing twenties at bars then paying for his beer with tens. His girlfriend, Myra (Bening), is hustling herself, her salad days as a long-con roper behind her. Theirs is a world of gut punches and smart lines.
The something that is wrong with this film is what was basically wrong with the story. None of these people are likable. It is however a nice stroll through some of the cons perpertrated by people much less attractive than these. Put together well, acted well, short on story.
Marks : 7/10
Director Stephen Frears John Cusack Roy Dillon
Writing Jim Thompson (I) Anjelica Huston Lilly Dillon
Cinematography Oliver Stapleton Annette Bening Myra Langtry
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