Review: Emily The Criminal (#Sundance2022)

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Aubrey Plaza is at her absolute best from start to finish in Emily the Criminal, an anxiety-inducing crime thriller that ends up replaying the same ideas without much interest.

Emily (Plaza) is struggling due to her inability to get a solid job because of a minor criminal record and student debt that won’t go down. When she is presented with the opportunity to make quick money via a criminal credit card scheme, the easy earnings and her mentor (Theo Rossi) become tough to pass up. Emily the Criminal is a good film, there is no questioning that. Not only is Plaza a tantalizingly intelligent protagonist, but Rossi and the rest of the supporting cast elevate the concept with their inspired performances. Where it all falls apart for me is that there isn’t much more that happens after Emily gets into the criminal game. Failed jobs/interviews and increasingly dangerous situations continue to be the focus throughout, leading to Emily becoming rather one dimensional. A better understanding of the character’s background would have gone far to sell it for me.

Writer/director John Patton Ford has crafted an intense film with an unhinged and no brakes feel similar to Uncut Gems. It’s a gritty outing that highlights the filmmakers ability to establish a tone and impact the emotions of his viewers. Plaza takes the reins of his vision and absolutely delivers. Still, I wanted more from the story.

Rating: 3/5

Photo from Sundance

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