The Grifters - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Grifters Reviews

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March 5, 2018
John Cusack stars as a small time con man in this adaptation of Jim Thompson's novel. He makes his living doing stuff like flashing a 20 at bartenders but slipping them a 10 when he pays for the drinks. He is visited by his mother (Anjelica Huston), who makes a living working fora bookie placing bets at racetracks to lower the odds on long shots. Cusack is suffering from internal bleeding from a blow in the stomach from a bartender who was wise to his tricks, and Huston gets him to the hopital in time to save his life. She meets his girlfriend Annette Bening and the two take an instant dislike to each other. Bening has discovered what Cusack does for a living and wants his help renewing her career as part of a group that puts on elaborate and lucrative cons. When Cusack refuses, it sets up a final confrontation between the three. There is a lot to like about this film. The three leads are great, with Cusack being perhaps the weakest having just graduated from the world of teen comedies at the time. The supporting cast is even better ... Pat Hingle, Stephen Tobolowsky, Henry Jones and J.T. Walsh all show up. The film is set in 1990, but the production design creates a more ambiguous setting ... the costumes and decor all seem a couple of decades out of date. That lets some of the aspects of the plot that seems more appropriate to the original 1950's setting kind of work. Donald Westlake's script is excellent with one glaring exception ... he has a tendency to take expanatory text from the novel and put it into the mouth of characters.
Super Reviewer
½ December 5, 2017
A first-rate neo-noir that benefits from superb performances (especially Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening); an excellent, dark script; a fantastic score by master Elmer Bernstein; and Stephen Frears' exquisite direction at the helm of one of the most gripping films of his career.
November 14, 2017
Hard-as-nails Lily Dillon (Anjelica Huston) works as a swindler for dangerous bookie Bobo (Pat Hingle), probably the only man she fears. Arriving in Los Angeles on "business," Lily looks up her son, Roy (John Cusack), a small-time con artist content with paltry sleight-of-hand cheats. Roy's girlfriend, Myra (Annette Bening), looks like an All-American type but is a grifter looking to pull off another big-time con. The convergence of the three hustlers inevitably means trouble for all of them.
October 10, 2017
From the shades used, to the acting, this is probably a forgotten gem, defined.
April 9, 2017
Very complicated movie about three con artists. Just wonderful acting, especially by Angelica Huston. It was the first movie I saw about how people can scam you out of money so it was an interesting look for me into that world. One of my favorite all time movies.
½ March 29, 2017
shit dark movie. so shit. so dark.
March 5, 2017
An epitome of the darker side of humans.
February 23, 2017
this was pretty good! a bunch of con artists trying to out-con the other; not bad at all. John Cusack seems so young in this one.
August 15, 2016
The Grifters is the interesting tale of 3 individuals who are jus that, Grifters. Roy (John Cusack is the son of lily (Anjelica Huston). Both are Grifters or con artists but have a estranged relationship. After 8 years they reunite under unique circumstances. Roy is dating a woman named Myra whom Lily immediately dislikes and is also a grifter herself and Lily has gotten herself mixed up with some very bad people. The movie becomes one big game involving pieces being moved into place and loyalties being tested.
The movie started off with a really nice opening scene that set the tone well. Grifting is like a chess game. It really delves into the idea of playing angles and setting up for a bigger play. This is one of the most cleverly written and intelligently structured scripts I've seen in ages. Every line and part of the plot is potentate and thought out real nice
In terms of acting the three leads did an amazing job. This is the sexiest role I've seen from Annette Benning. Her character here is really crafty and smart. Angelica Huston also looked reeeeally sexy here in this film, I swear it was something about that wig man. She was such an imposing figure here and she had reeeeeal prescence in this role. She has her shining moment near the end with Roy its like a unique mother son heart to heart. john cusuack as the male lead is really good here. His character was real smooth but he is also very conflicted.
The music was very strange and didn't seem to fit the film at all. Overall Terrible soundtrack. On the other hand such fantastic directing from one Stephen Frears. The costume design was really impressive it shows the final remnant's of the 80's dress style going into the new decade its pretty dope.
In conclusion the movie is such an original flick and really enjoyable to watch as well. Go see it!
June 23, 2016
A welcomed throwback to the genre of film noir. Seduction, betrayal, murder and a hint of CHINATOWN make up the very dark intrigue and the trio of thespians are at the top of their game as con artists of deadly sex appeal.
June 5, 2016
A beguiling, exquisitely-stylised genre experiment with a striking story that, despite a suitably tragic ending, never quite hits the thrills it could have. However, it is difficult to resist Angelica Houston's smooth and delicate performance as a mother struggling to escape her past, and redefine her future.
½ May 31, 2016
Stephen Frears has made some movies I really like, and also a dud or two, but for the most part this is pretty good, it's a good set up, and there's some really good individual sequences, however the overall story just felt a bit lacking, and the ending just felt rushed and abrupt, all the acting is good, from the 3 leads, and to even the minor roles, and thanks to the score there's kind of a mysterious vibe about it, a bit unlike what you'd normally expect in a heist/con film, overall there's a lot of good in this, but just could have used a better script
½ May 29, 2016
The Grifters (1990) ??? 1/2 D: Stephen Frears. Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, Annette Bening, Jan Munroe, Robert Weems, Stephen Tobolowsky. Terrific look at conman Cusack who's torn between his mother or his new girlfriend's loyalties. All three are first-rate grifters, who have their own ways of playing this game. Fascinating from beginning to end, and completely unpredictable. The three stars are excellent. Scripted by Donald E. Westlake from Jim Thompson's novel.
May 28, 2016
Most crime capers that I've seen have an engrossing story and interesting characters. Sadly, this one doesn't.
April 8, 2016
Although well-acted, a nasty story about nasty people.
½ March 6, 2016
Stephen Frears' neo noir atmosphere combined with fine performances from Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening are barely enough to captivate the audience.
½ February 26, 2016
He was so crocked he could eat soup with a cork screw.

Grifters are conmen that find unique ways to fix gambling events and make money. A mother and son are in the profession, and the son eventually takes a beating. He plans to get out of the game and begins seeing this new girl that is quirky. He quickly discovers she is also a grifter and may drag him into his profession he wishes to escape from.

"You're plenty old enough to be Ray's mother."
"Aren't we all?"

Stephen Frears, director of High Fidelity, The Queen, Philomena, Dangerous Liaisons, Lay the Favorite, Cheri, Dirty Pretty Things, and The Van, delivers The Grifters. The storyline for this picture is interesting and fun to watch unfold. It isn't perfect or as fluid as other films in this genre. The cast delivers solid performances and includes Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, Annette Bening, and Henry Jones.

"It's a big world out there."
"Not anymore."

I came across this on Netflix and had to add it to the queue. This was very fun and entertaining. It isn't an all time classic Cusack film, but he was perfect for this role. I recommend this picture to Ocean's 11 or Cusack fans.

"I need money."

Grade: B-
January 22, 2016
Didn't like the ending but still a good movie.
½ December 9, 2015
An exciting, thrilling movie with amazing performances from Bening, Huston, and Cusack and a really excellent screenplay. I really enjoy Stephen Frears and I think it terms of an overall style and craft this is his best work ranking among Dangerous Liaisons and Philomena as his career best work. Bening is the true shining star and it is odd to think that she was nominated as a supporting actress when she dominates the movie even more than Huston at times. I think the ending threw me off a little but it works for this movie. I also really loved the score and costumes
December 7, 2015
A neo-noir jem, John Cusack gives one of his best and most underrated performances. Angelica Huston and Annette Bening give terrific performances as well; Stephen Frears' directing is awesome. Very good adapation from the book.
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