Criminal (2004 film)

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Criminal (movie poster).jpg
Directed by Gregory Jacobs
Produced by George Clooney
Steven Soderbergh
Gregory Jacobs
Screenplay by Gregory Jacobs
Steven Soderbergh (as Sam Lowry)
Story by Fabián Bielinsky (original film)
Based on Nueve Reinas by Fabián Bielinsky
Starring John C. Reilly
Diego Luna
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Maeve Quinlan
Music by Alex Wurman
Cinematography Chris Menges
Edited by Douglas Crise
Stephen Mirrione
Distributed by Warner Independent Pictures
Release dates
September 10, 2004 (2004-09-10)
Running time
87 minutes
Country  United States
Language English

Criminal is a 2004 US film based upon the Argentine film Nine Queens. Directed by Gregory Jacobs, it stars John C. Reilly, Diego Luna, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Maeve Quinlan and is a production of Section Eight, the production company of Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney.


Richard Gaddis is a small time crook with a penchant for con games. To hook marks, he acts like a well-to-do businessman, dressing like one and driving a Mercedes-Benz, believing that one must look like a professional in order to be a successful conman.

Gaddis is searching for a new partner with whom he can perform more sophisticated cons. He discovers Rodrigo (Luna) after he sees the young man playing some minor con games in a casino-bar. When Rodrigo is caught, Gaddis acts the part of a vice officer to save him from being arrested. Rodrigo's contribution is a face and naive manner so trustable that he is able to con anyone, while Richard is both completely unprincipled and clever. After several small tests to determine Rodrigo's confidence ability, he suggests a partnership, to which Rodrigo quickly agrees.

Although Rodrigo distrusts Richard greatly, he agrees to partner him on a gigantic scam, provided he gets a percentage of the money gained to help his ailing father, who is in trouble because of his gambling debts. Richard accepts, and they plan to sell a fraudulent version of a silver certificate currency note to William Hannigan, a rich collector who is in town.

Gyllenhaal plays Gaddis' sister Valerie, a concierge at a hotel. When Hannigan takes a fancy to the uptight but very sexy Valerie, Gaddis is forced to pull her into the scam, the price of which is Richard's admission to their brother Michael that he has cheated him out of his share of their inheritance. The plot twists constantly as each of the characters becomes more deeply invested in the scam, and the ever-deceitful Richard tries to cheat Rodrigo, Valerie and Michael out of their share of the take.

In the twist ending, it is revealed that all the major players involved, including Rodrigo and Hannigan, were playing a confidence game against Gaddis from the very beginning, so that Valerie and Michael could rightfully take their share of their inheritance.


Criminal is based on an Argentine movie, Nine Queens (2000). The story has also been adapted in Hindi as Bluffmaster! (2005) and in Malayalam as Gulumal (2009).



The film received generally positive reviews from critics and currently holds 70% on Rotten Tomatoes.

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