Do you like movies with twists and turns? How about a movie with a hundred twists? Crook Presented in a handful of different chapters, one for each of the main protagonist/antagonists (they’re all a bit of both), each episode offers a fresh perspective, each rewind, peeling layers of onions and revealing layers of spiraling shit. . . It’s both fun and boring.
Tom (Judge Smith, here a nice jerk) works in a humble and quiet bookstore in New York. When Sandra (Briana Middleton) shows up, looking for an old classic, their synapses fire. He’s lost and alone, she’s all sweet smiles and empathy, and they soon fall in love, enjoying a happy relationship, until trouble strikes. His brother needs money, lots of money, and Tom thinks he can help. From there, a film that for ten minutes was a sweet match between millennials and cuties turns into a dramatic rip-off where everything mentioned here would be spoilers, but suffice it to say that no one is as it seems, everyone is taken for fools and people they are double, triple, quadruple crossed at dizzying levels.
There is enough to get your attention, but something is missing.
Director Benjamin Caron directed some episodes of Andor, including the last two – master classes of tension and dramatic action. Strangely, not much happens here, despite the puzzle story and high stakes. It’s an elegant and beautiful piece of work (thanks to cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen, who made it A quiet place they look so beautiful), but if you wait Andor stress levels, you may feel deflated.
It’s easy to see why the actors would go into this: they’re basically all playing liars, who can come in one way, then another, and in some cases another. As the romantic partner of John Lithgow’s millionaire widower, Julianne Moore enjoys being very Julianne Moore, doing nothing that she hasn’t done better before her. Briana Middleton is amazing, the best here, the heart and soul of the film. She contains multitudes. Sebastian Stan, meanwhile, doubles down on his recent penchant for playing obnoxious, volatile, violent jerks. From Cold For Pam and Tommy and now, he packs a lot of sleaze between his outings in the MCU, once again playing an unhealthy scumbag, a swashbuckling moral chasm. He’s good at it, clearly dabbles in the bad: everyone hails the new king of toxic masculinity.
So it’s a good cast and crew, chewing through complicated material. Always Crook it’s a somewhat bland, furry dog affair, where revelations feel like shrugs and coincidences feel like gimmicks. There’s enough to get your attention, it’s funny here and there in its silliness, and this set isn’t fun to look at, but something’s missing. It’s all intrigue, and not enough humanity: it would be much more effective if we had more reasons to care about these people, or what happens to one of them. If you like a funny story, this is definitely it. But only that.
Rose James is a Gossipify movie and series reviewer known for her in-depth analysis and unique perspective on the latest releases. With a background in film studies, she provides engaging and informative reviews, and keeps readers up to date with industry trends and emerging talents.