‘Emily the Criminal’ Movie Review and Trailer [Sundance 2022] – Aubrey Plaza | Entertainment

'Emily the Criminal' Movie Review and Trailer [Sundance 2022] - Aubrey Plaza | Entertainment
‘Emily the Criminal’ Movie Review and Trailer [Sundance 2022] – Aubrey Plaza

‘Emily the Criminal’ [Sundance 2022] Movie Review and Trailer: Aubrey Plaza’s Crime Drama Is a Steal

Emily the Criminal is an above average crime thriller with a few specific standout moments.  Writer-director John Patton Ford puts a modern spin on the genre.  Emily the Criminal provides social commentary on the system that puts countless people in extreme debt.  It is a film about second chances and what one is willing to do with them.

‘Emily the Criminal’ tries to pay off debt

Emily (Aubrey Plaza) is down on her luck and trapped in a massive amount of debt.  She works in food service, but wants to get a job that pays good money.  However, no employer will hire her after running a background check.  Emily is beginning to think that she will have to move back in with her family to save money.

On one fateful day, one of Emily’s co-workers tips her off on an opportunity to earn extra money.  However, he requires her to get involved in an illegal scam.  As a result, she finds herself drawn into the criminal underworld of Los Angeles.  She will soon discover that all bad decisions have consequences.

Writer/director John Patton Ford explores a generational shift

Emily the Criminal begins with an important job interview, though her previous convictions keep her from getting the job.  She is not afraid to speak out against authority and explain the heavy burden of high student debt.  Emily’s dead-end job is getting more and more exhausting, but she’s determined to stay in Los Angeles if she can make it work.

The illegal scam jobs start out simple enough, leading Emily to believe that she could continue doing this to earn the money she needs.  However, they get more and more difficult.  Emily doesn’t back down from the challenge, as dangerous figures try to victimize her.  However, she is deceptively resourceful and quickly turns the tables.  Ford’s script acknowledges that she is crossing moral boundaries, but still gets the audience behind her.

Emily the Criminal finds the main character developing a relationship with her mentor in crime, Youcef (Theo Rossi).  This further complicates the nature of the game, but Emily will continue with the mission she signed up for.  She is presented with other job opportunities, although she finds herself in a capitalist world that seems even more dangerous and uncomfortable than the criminal underworld.  A clear generational change in work habits is visibly at work.

Aubrey Plaza raises ‘Emily the Criminal’ a little above average

Emily the Criminal explores the always frustrating job market.  The title character deals with employers who take advantage of her time, ask her to work for free, and corner her about her past.  Ford’s screenplay is largely so accessible because it taps into the real world in a way that’s particularly timely to many.

Plaza is the biggest highlight of the movie.  This is a fascinating role for the actress, allowing her to play a role that the public doesn’t normally see her in.  However, she handles all the nuances of the character with ease.  Plaza brings both drama and humor to Emily, creating a fully realized and multidimensional character.  This is why the public can’t seem to get enough of seeing her on the big screen.

There is much to enjoy in Emily the Criminal.  Plaza’s performance and some of the nail-biting schemes certainly make for a great movie experience.  However, she goes off the rails a bit in the third act in a direction that doesn’t fit tonally with the rest of the film.  Emily the Criminal is all about new beginnings and taking chances, which Ford pulls off in an entertaining way for her lead role.

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Source: Jeff Nelson, Showbiz Cheat Sheet, Direct News 99

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