Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Bag Man

In the 80's John Cusack was known for quality teen comedies like 'Better Off Dead', 'One Crazy Summer', and 'Hot Pursuit'.  But lately his bag, so to speak, seems to be limited theatrical release and straight to VOD thrillers.  The bad news is that movies like The Factory, The Numbers Station, The Frozen Ground, Grand Piano, and now 'The Bag Man' aren't doing his career any favors.  The good news is that, while none of them are must-sees, all of them are fun watches.  In this one he plays a killer hired by Robert DeNiro to retrieve a bag for him.  The only other instruction he's been given is that he's not to look inside it.  Of course, this seemingly simple task doesn't go as planned, and what follows is a dark, atmospheric, and bizarre evening while he waits for DeNiro at a motel out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by strange characters (including a creepy desk clerk played by uber-weirdo Crispin Glover.)  This film was clearly written by someone who grew up watching the same little seen, quirky and violent crime films that popped up on VHS at Blockbuster in the post-Tarantino 90's that I used to gravitate towards as well.  And while it doesn't finish nearly as interesting as I'd hoped, I enjoyed it, if only to ponder the mysteries of what was in the bag, and even more mysteriously, how they bagged DeNiro for this role!

You can see 'The Bag Man' now in limited theatrical release and also at home on Video on Demand.

Grade: B+

Who is this movie for?  Those, like me, who get a kick out of dark, atmospheric, bizarre, and violent crime thrillers that no one else has seen or will see, even when they're only good but not great.

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