The Opportunists

2000, Movie, R, 89 mins


A modest, morose slice of life among the down and almost out. Vic Kelly (Christopher Walken) is a small-time safecracker whose last stretch in jail cost him his marriage and nearly ruined his relationship with his now-grown daughter Miriam (Vera Farmiga). Vic is now an auto mechanic, determined to stay on the straight and narrow; he's reconciled with Miriam, started dating local bar owner Sally (Cyndi Lauper), and is paying elderly Aunt Dierdre's (Anne Pitonial) nursing home bills. Unfortunately, he's paying them with rubber checks, the same way he's paying the rent on his auto repair shop. He's too proud to accept Sally's offer of a loan, and two local guys, minimum-wage night security guards Pat (Donal Logue) and Jesus (Jose Zuniga) are pressuring him to join them in what they swear is a no-risk heist. Into this disaster waiting to happen steps Michael (Peter McDonald), a homeless, penniless young Irishman who swears he's Vic's distant cousin. Soon Vic's been coerced into joining Michael, Pat and Jesus in robbing the deposit delivery warehouse where Pat and Jesus work. There's a lot of cash on the premises, some of it of shady origin; Pat and Jesus swear their odious boss won't dare go to the police. It's not spoiling anything to reveal that the heist goes badly — it was bound to. The plot isn't what makes this movie worth watching anyway — it's the performances and the ambiance. First-time feature filmmaker Myles Connell, an NYU grad, was born in Dublin and came to the U.S. as a teenager. His familiarity with Irish immigrant neighborhoods and attitudes is evident, and he gets beautifully modulated performances from his entire cast, including singer Lauper and Walken, who for once isn't playing a walking time bomb. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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