Combustible Celluloid
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With: Gastón Pauls, Ricardo Darín, Leticia Brédice, Tomás Fonzi
Written by: Fabián Bielinsky
Directed by: Fabián Bielinsky
MPAA Rating: R for language
Language: Spanish with English subtitles
Running Time: 114
Date: 03/18/2013

Nine Queens (2002)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Lady and the Stamps

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

In this thriller from Argentina, an experienced con man (Ricardo Darín) takes an eager apprentice (Gastón Pauls) under his wing in a scam involving a valuable stamp collection (the "nine queens" of the title). Making his feature debut, writer/director Fabián Bielinsky concocts a selection of tantalizing layers, from his Mamet-like dialogue to his chilly visuals. But the key is Dar�n, who never lets on just how much he knows. The film craftily manhandles our trust in him, whipping it this way and that, and we eagerly go along for the ride. Leticia Brédice co-stars as the girl, as every scam must have a girl.

Nine Queens was remade in America in 2004 as Criminal. Sadly, Bielinsky completed only one other feature, The Aura, before succumbing to a heart attack in June of 2006 at the age of 47.

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