“… like a Coen brothers movie, [but] not a very good one.”
Life of Crime is a movie that feels effortless. Much like films of the Coen brothers, Life of Crime manages to take a seemingly regular setting and bunch of characters, and ingest comedy into the narrative. Life of Crime is about two criminals who decide to extort a corrupt businessman by kidnapping his wife. Things get complicated when this businessman’s refuses to pay the ransom that the requested. Life of Crime stars Jennifer Aniston as Mickey Dawson, Tim Robbins as Frank Dawson, and John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) as the two criminals.
I usually don’t like comparing movies to one another but I couldn’t shake the feeling that Life of Crime was a bastard creation of the Coen brothers. Like I mentioned earlier the film fits the general tone of the Coen brothers films, by introducing situations that are dark but injecting comedy into them. Even though Life of Crime is like a Coen brothers movie, it’s not a very good one. Where Coen brothers films have gut-busting comedy, Life of Crime settles for chuckles. Life of Crime also seemingly shies away form exploring their characters, instead leaving us with puppets that are used for the story. That may have been a little harsh, but comparing Life of Crime to a movie like Fargo is apples to oranges. Honestly there isn’t a whole lot I can say about Life of Crime without just saying that it was like a Coen brothers film. The film is based on an Elmore Leonard novel, so those familiar with his work will know what they are getting into. I appreciated that the story, while maintaining it’s light hearted nature, managed to go to a few really dark places. I also really enjoyed the acting, and the soundtrack was great. The one issue I had with the movie is a pretty big one. I was perfectly content, even enjoying myself, while watching the movie but then something happened. Much like a terrible football player who is running the ball down the field with no one around for miles, the movie fumbled. In fact, the movie flat out ate shit in my opinion. Luckily the movie managed to regain it’s footing at the very last second, but by then the damage was done. Life of Crime would have been an amazing movie if not for that fuck up. That’s not to say that I don’t like this movie, but it could’ve been something really special.
Ultimately Life of Crime gets an A for effort, but a lesser mark for execution.
I give Life of Crime a B