Bobbie (Vincent Kartheiser) and Rosie (Natasha Gregson Wagner) are small-time crooks with no purpose or direction. Along comes Mel (James Woods) and Sid (Melanie Griffith), an older and wiser version of the young couple to teach them the tricks of their trade. Mel and Sid have no allusions: they are junkies and thieves, but they excel at being criminals. Eventually, their luck doesn’t last forever and a foreboding sense of doom begins to creep in as Mel takes big risk jobs. James Woods proves yet again why he is consistently one of the best actors working today. He brings a creepy, energetic edge to a character who knows all the angles but is a little too cocky for his own good. In contrast, Melanie Griffith brings a jovial warmth to Sid. She acts as the calming effect that softens Woods’ edge at just the right moments. Deep down, however, Sid is a real fighter and more than capable of holding her own. Griffiths’ performance is a revelation. After all of the lightweight Hollywood films she’s done over the years, she turns in a very credible performance. If there is one weakness in Larry Clark’s film it is that the raw depiction of criminal low-lifes bears more than a passing resemblance to Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy (1989). This is a minor quibble in an otherwise excellent film.
Posted on September 28, 1998 in Reviews by J.D. LaFrance
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