21 April 2007 | LGwriter49
Taut noir thriller
This taut little thriller, directed by first-timer Mark Fergus, is a real gripper with intelligence to spare and some seriously powerful stuff. The protagonist/anti-hero, Jimmy Starks (Guy Pearce in a role that hauntingly echoes his work in "Memento"), is a salesman/con man who easily slides in and out of legit selling and shady conning. Pearce carries this off beautifully, and is ably abetted in his downward spiraling tale by J.K. Simmons as Vaccaro, the strangely prescient soothsayer, William Fichtner as Jimmy's friend Ed, and some really great unknown actors in other supporting roles, principally the actor playing Jimmy's boss, who will hopefully go on to do more work on film (he's terrific).
Jimmy accidentally meets up with fortune teller Vaccaro who accurately predicts a win by a local college basketball team that Jimmy's bet on, as well as a windfall from an on-the-level business deal that Jimmy's involved in. What Vaccaro does not predict is the riveting, ever-darker series of events that ensue when Jimmy finds out that a former partner of his in a crooked scam, Vince, is now out on parole from a stretch in the slammer.
For my money, this is the best American noir thriller of the year so far, and would make a great addition, once it's out on DVD, to anyone's library of neo-noirs. The ending in particular is really strong--always the mark of a well-made film.
Try not to miss this. It's great.