Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Idiots make poor (if realistic) criminals

Welcome to Collinwood (2002)
Starring: Isaiah Washington, William H. Macy, and Sam Rockwell
Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

Four down-and-out small-time thieves and hoods get their hands on a fool-proof heist plan. It's not exactly a "job of the century," but these are yutzes who think small, and who rarely have more than two pennies to run together, so the contents of a pawnbroker's safe is the take of a lifetime to them. Unfortunately, none of this little gang have two braincells to rub together either.

"Welcome to Collinwood" is populated with characters so pathetic that the viewer can't help but feel sorry for them. One also can't help but root for them to succeed in their sad little heist, although it is also certain that they're going to fail, because they're all so damn dumb. But they're not dumb in a screwball comedy kind of way... they're dumb in the way that real-life crooks are dumb. Where the characters of "Welcome to Collinwood" part with their realworld counterparts is that the would-be master-theives are, basically good and kindhearted; some of them are just too lazy for real work, while others are professional small-time crooks who are in dire straights. In the end, they turn out to fundamentally be decent, if thoroughly stupid, people.

I'm not 100% certain what kind of story the filmmakers wanted to tell with this movie, and I'm not sure they were either. If there had been a little more of a point to the film (other than "idiots make lousy criminals" as the film's tagline says), this might have been a Six-Star movie. I did enjoy watching it, I just wished there had been a little more to the film.

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