Wednesday 19 July 2023

Emily the Criminal [2022]

 It was a fun coincidence to watch Kimi and Emily the Criminal back-to-back, whilst on an intercontinental flight, given the interesting parallels – both were engaging genre films with scalding political subtexts, outspoken activism organically built into the script, and anti-establishmentarian stances that were manifestly zeitgeisty and topical; further, interestingly, both had bold, troubled, feisty and rebellious heroines at the forefront who aren’t afraid of taking on the established order. The titular Emily (Aubrey Plaza) is getting crushed underneath the burden of her student loans, seething under the financial exploitation and denigration that she faces as a gig worker and during job interviews, and still carrying the scars of a past DUI charge which scuttles her chances of starting afresh. She’s therefore very angry, at the end of her straws, and ready to subvert laws and even go rogue if need be. These, along with her fiercely independent nature and natural-born ferocity take her down a path that she should’ve never been pushed towards in the first place. It starts with acting as a “dummy shopper” – in lieu of a small pay cheque to start with, and soon graduating to more dangerous and reckless acts that come with more lucrative pay-offs – for the charismatic Youcef (Theo Rossi) who co-runs a credit card scam racket. Before long, with his help and her indomitable spunk, she starts off on her own. And things continue to get darker, messier, and as may be anticipated, more violent. Plaza brought in a sensational dose of brashness, volatility and chutzpah into her role – especially in the way she embraced criminality – which appropriately complemented the film’s tense and edgy thrills, as well as its scorching social commentary.

Director: John Patton Ford

Genre: Thriller/Crime Thriller

Language: English

Country: US

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