You would think that Quentin Tarantino wannabes would be a thing of the past by now but this movie is nevertheless trying to be like a Tarantino gangster flick, with its characters, dialog and developments. Does it work out? Not really.
At the same time, I still have to say that this movie is not as bad as most people claim it is, in my opinion though of course. It's not a very exciting, tense or good mysterious movie but it's not exactly anything terrible or too annoying either.
The movie just isn't solid enough to ever work out as a very successful or memorable one. The movie feels too slow and too uninteresting and ineffective with all of its developments. The story is too weak and simplistic in the way how it's set up and things slowly unravel. Things are never made interesting and quite frankly I also never was interested to find out what was in the bag, which is basically the one thing this entire movie evolves around. A real McGuffin, just not a very well handled one.
Who knows, maybe in the hands of a more experienced and capable director, this movie still would have still worked out as a pretty decent genre movie. The potential and ideas where there but the execution of it was very lacking. Maybe it's all no big surprise, seeing how this is David Grovic's first directed movie.
One of the things I truly disliked about this movie was the visual style. I'm genuinely starting to feel fed up with dark movies, in which the darkness adds absolutely nothing to the atmosphere of the movie. It never makes this movie a raw or gritty one and it doesn't turn it ever into a good tense or mysterious one either. It's just a depressing kind of darkness really, that takes all of the potential fun out of the movie.
And concerning the movie its twists; well, I have to say that especially toward the end the twists start to feel and look really kind of dumb and nonsensical. It are the type of twists that really don't make much sense, especially once you start to really think about it. It's not anything too bad or distracting though, since the rest of the story isn't all that solid or engaging to begin with anyway.
It's still definitely good to see Robert De Niro in this movie though. He once again plays a typical gangster type of character, that he's of course always so great at. He's also the main villain, so his role is a pretty big one as well. John Cusack is basically being John Cusack again and I never mind that too much but Rebecca Da Costa on the other hand was quite terrible. I admit that this mostly was because of her very distracting accent and it also is true that her character isn't a very well written one. She also has to say a whole bunch of dialog that no girl with her background and origins would ever even think of saying. Seems that they wrote the part with an American actress in mind but the role eventually went to the Brazilian born Da Costa, who unfortunately was really struggling with her lines at parts.
The movie isn't as bad as some people try to make you believe but at the same time I just can't call it a very good, original or effective movie as well.