The Grifters

Watch The Grifters

"Seduction. Betrayal. Murder. Who’s conning who?"
  • R
  • 1991
  • 1 hr 59 min
  • 6.9  (30,442)
  • 86

The Grifters is a neo-noir thriller film released in 1990, directed by Stephen Frears and starring Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, and Annette Bening. Set in Los Angeles, the film follows the lives of three con artists - Lily Dillon (Huston), her son Roy (Cusack), and his girlfriend Myra (Bening). Lily is an experienced grifter who works as a bookie for a powerful organized crime figure, Bobo (Pat Hingle). Roy is a small-time trickster who wants to climb up the ladder of success in the con game, and Myra is a seductive but inexperienced swindler.

The story begins with Roy and Myra pulling off a scam at a racetrack, stealing money from a hapless victim. However, their scheme is interrupted by a violent incident that leaves Roy injured and in need of medical attention. He goes to Lily's house, where she lives alone, having lost her husband years ago to the same life of crime that she now pursues.

Lily is wary of having Roy around, but she comes to realize that he is her only family and that she still cares about him. Meanwhile, she also meets Myra, who seems to be a potential rival for Roy's affections. Myra is younger and prettier than Lily, and she appears to be more interested in Roy for his money than for his heart.

As the three characters interact with each other, the film becomes a study of their personalities and motivations. Lily is a tough, cynical woman who has been involved in the grift for too long to have any illusions about its dangers and moral compromises. Roy is a restless young man who has never known anything else but the con game and who is eager to prove himself as a masterful operator. Myra is a complex figure who is both alluring and repelling, seductive and manipulative, innocent and guilty.

The Grifters is marked by its stylish cinematography, moody music, and sharp dialogue. The film is also notable for its graphic violence, sexual content, and profanity, which add to its seedy atmosphere and adult themes. However, what makes the film truly compelling is the strong performances of its lead actors.

Anjelica Huston gives a memorable portrayal of a woman who has seen too much of the dark side of life but who still maintains a sense of self-preservation and attachment to her son. She conveys Lily's conflicted emotions with subtlety and nuance, creating a character that is sympathetic and tough at the same time.

John Cusack, who was then a rising star, delivers a convincing portrayal of a man torn between his loyalty to his mother and his ambition to be something more than a small-time hustler. He also has great chemistry with Annette Bening, whose portrayal of Myra is both alluring and enigmatic. Bening portrays Myra's seductive power with a kind of cool detachment that makes her all the more dangerous.

The Grifters was a critical and commercial success, being nominated for four Academy Awards and grossing over $12 million. It is now considered a classic of the neo-noir genre, a film that combines the grittiness of the 1940s and 1950s movies with the sensibilities of the 1990s.

In conclusion, The Grifters is a must-see movie for fans of crime dramas, neo-noir thrillers, or character-driven stories. With its superb cast, taut direction, and stylish aesthetics, the film offers a gripping and unsettling exploration of the lives of people who live on the edge of society, exploiting the weaknesses and vices of others to survive. It is a film that lingers in the memory long after the credits roll.

The Grifters is a 1991 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 59 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.9 and a MetaScore of 86.

The Grifters
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 59 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.9  (30,442)
  • Metascore