Ordinary Decent Criminal

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • R
  • Crime, Drama

Despite the presence of Kevin Spacey and a pre-stardom Colin Farrell, this slick caper film — which tells the same fact-based story as John Boorman's superior THE GENERAL (1998), wasn't deemed worthy of American theatrical release and went directly to video and DVD. Ever since he was ousted from a Dublin housing project, Michael Lynch (Kevin Spacey)...read more

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Reviewed by Robert Pardi
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Despite the presence of Kevin Spacey and a pre-stardom Colin Farrell, this slick

caper film — which tells the same fact-based story as John Boorman's superior THE GENERAL (1998), wasn't deemed worthy of American theatrical release and went directly to video and DVD. Ever since he was ousted from a Dublin housing project, Michael Lynch (Kevin Spacey) has delighted in thumbing his nose at authorities. Though married to Christine (Linda Fiorentino), Lynch has gotten her to agree to cosy arrangement involving her sister, Lisa (Helena Baxendale). To pay for two households, family man Lynch and his gang rob with impunity; he even knocks off the welfare center where he receives regular checks. Although the IRA is impressed enough with his boldness to suggest a partnership, Lynch is too wary of outsiders to agree. Despite the best efforts of Detective Sergeant Quigley (Stephen Dillane), Lynch grows ever bolder and steals a fortune in gold bars and then concocts an ingenious scheme involving a perfect copy of a Caravaggio painting. Lynch resolves to steal the real masterpiece, then lead cops a merry chase by using the counterfeit as bait. Hounded day and night by Quigley's watchdogs, Lynch still manages to give them the slip; even when the desperate cops hire a decoy to pose as a fence, Lynch sniffs out the impostor. Inevitably, a few underlings tire of Lynch's risk-taking and grandstanding. In response, Lynch sets up his grousing accomplices, who believe they've been entrusted with the real Caravaggio. In a daring gamble, a disguised Lynch bursts into a bank robbery conducted by a rival crook. Can Lynch pull off the heist, dispose of the painting and live happily ever after? This superficial Robin Hoodlum film is an engrossing slice of Emerald Isle larceny, but lacks the tragic dimension of similar underworld dramas. But as an acting for showcase for Spacey (who sports a flawless accent) and a talented ensemble cast, the film is a brilliant achievement.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Despite the presence of Kevin Spacey and a pre-stardom Colin Farrell, this slick caper film — which tells the same fact-based story as John Boorman's superior THE GENERAL (1998), wasn't deemed worthy of American theatrical release and went directly t… (more)

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