The Grifters
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The Grifterssuperbly directed by Stephen Frears, beautifully adapted by Donald E. Westlake from a novel by Jim Thompson is a superlative, psychological drama and one of the finest film noir of the decade. In contemporary Los Angeles, Roy Dillon (John Cusack), a cynical con artist makes his living by small-time hustling. His trampy, deceptively empty-headed girlfriend Myra (Annette Bening) has bigger plans for him. These plans are foiled when Roy is badly hurt by a bartender he is attempting to cheat and is desperately in need of medical attention. He is aided by his estranged mother, Lily… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Best to savor The Grifters for its handsome design -- the picture looks as clean as a Hockney landscape -- and its juicy performances."
‑ Richard Corliss, TIME Magazine
"Donald Westlake's excellent screenplay does some justice to the starkness of Jim Thompson's novel; and Frears' direction never fails to grab the attention."
‑ Stephen Garrett, Time Out
"[VIDEO] Although the movie recalls films by the Coen Brothers or the Dahl Brothers, "The Grifters" retains its source material's voice in a thoroughly original way. Here's a neo-noir you can never see too many times."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"British helmer Frears makes auspicious American debut with this light, speedy, perfectly executed noir, based on Jim Thompson's novel, boasting three terrific performances; one of the best films of the year"
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Well done, but finally airless modern noir."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
"A mannerist thriller that doesn't begin to work despite the number of talented hands involved."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"The Grifters is so good that one leaves the theater on a spellbound high."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"A darkly cynical and uncompromising gem."
‑ , Film4
"[A] quirky, absorbing adaptation of Jim Thompson's pulp novel."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Donald Westlake's screenplay has the right combination of vivid characters, mordant wit and avaricious savagery which distinguishes the best noir."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Cusack underplays Roy, making him an unbelievable wiseguy, a colorless cipher too akin to the saps he loves to fleece."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"It seduces you into believing it's merely a cheeky trifle, and then, when you least expect it, lowers the boom."
‑ Hal Hinson, Washington Post
"Clever writing and fine cast make this tale of thieves among us fun to watch."
‑ Steve Crum,
"Intriguing neo-noir."
‑ Dan Lybarger, Nitrate Online
"perfectly-cast... a gem"
‑ Christopher Null,
More reviews for The Grifters on Rotten Tomatoes