Rolling Stone - 11/29/1990
"...[Huston's] performance is as devastating as any in film..."
Entertainment Weekly - 10/08/1999
"...Stunning noir....[Cusack shows] circumspect intelligence..." -- Rating: A
New York Times - 01/25/1991
"...Guaranteed to take the breath away....[Few films] pack a wallop to compare with this..." -- Critic's Choice
Los Angeles Times - 12/05/1990
"...Bening and Cusack are perfection at what they are doing, she twinkly as a rhinestone, he dangerously passive....[Frears] has an entire movie in which to play with our nerves, and in a masterful display of control, he never lets up..."
Uncut - 08/01/2001
"Slick surrealism from Stephen Frears..."
Total Film - 05/01/2007 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A] stylishly retro adap of one of the author's most representative works....With its coldly amoral nihilism intact."
Sight and Sound - 04/01/2007
"Frears and cinematographer Oliver Stapleton make late 1980s America look as dark and moody as any city in an old film noir."
THE GRIFTERS is an intense character study of a group of people caught up in a world where nobody can be trusted. Stephen Frears presents this cool and brutal adaptation of Jim Thompson's stylish noir novel, which centers on the complex lives of three con artists. Shady Roy Dillon (John Cusack), a low-level Los Angeles con man and petty thief, and Roy's sexy, amoral girlfriend Myra (Annette Bening), a con artist who is down on her luck and willing to do whatever it takes to get back on top of her game; are the focal point of the action. Rounding out the trio is Roy's mother, Lilly (Angelica Huston), a veteran con artist who shares little with Roy other than a bizarre oedipal attraction. The seedy underbelly of LA life is played out in evocative tableaux, as Myra and Lilly compete for Roy's attention until they ultimately drive him away.
Description by Buena Vista Home Entertainment.:
Academy Award(R)-winning actress Anjelica Huston (Best Supporting Actress, PRIZZI'S HONOR, 1985), John Cusack (SERENDIPITY), and Annette Bening (AMERICAN BEAUTY) star in this acclaimed hit where seduction and betrayal could lead to murder! When small-time cheat Roy Dillon (Cusack) winds up in the hospital following an unsuccessful scam, it sets up a confrontation between his estranged mother Lilly (Huston) and sexy girlfriend Myra (Bening). Both Lilly and Myra are ruthless confidence artists playing the con game in a league far above Roy ... and always looking for their next victim! The question soon becomes who's conning who as Roy finds himself caught in a complicated web of passion and mistrust!
Essential Cinema |
Family Interaction |
Film Noir |
Love Triangle |
Organized Crime |
Scams And Cons |
Theatrical release: December 1990.
THE GRIFTERS premiered at the Toronto Festival of Festivals in September 1990.
Producer Martin Scorsese narrates the short opening of the film.