Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Streaming tip: Take a chance on Martin Rosete and Josep Ciutat's nifty little thriller, MONEY

Sick of super-heroes? Can't blame you, particularly after subjecting oneself to the supposed "amusements" of the latest and just-about-worthless Thor installment. If your pleasure runs more to character, dialog and oddball incident, you might enjoy a small but smartly done crime puzzle called MONEY. As written with relish and enough little tricks up his sleeve to last the requisite 86 minutes by Josep Ciutat (his first screenplay) and efficiently and crisply directed by Martin Rosete (his first full-length film after a slew of short ones), the movie also boasts a very good quintet of actors, each of whom captures character and moment with the proper intensity and believability. This little movie is a tasty surprise.

Mr. Ciutat has concocted an unusual but well-thought-out what's-going-on-here? puzzle that plays out quite briskly and felicitously, and Mr. Rosete (shown at right) gives the tale just the right pacing and lustre that it needs to engage and hold us.

One seemingly wealthy couple Kellan Lutz and Jess Weixler (below, right and left, respectively) is having one of the husband's work mates and his date over for dinner. Mr. Lutz captures both the "hot" quality of his slick character as well as the man's weakness, while Ms Weixler unveils quite a reserve of strength under her elegant exterior.

That work mate turns out to be a prime asshole (played  by Jesse Williams, below, with a cocky surety that will have you rooting for him to get his comeuppance), while his date (the glamorous and feisty Lucía Guerrero, shown at bottom) proves to have a bit more on the ball that her hosts might have initially imagined.

Into this quartet arrives a fifth wheel who provides the film with its fuse, trigger and explosives in the form of a very fine actor, Jamie Bamber (below), who would -- were the others not so very good, as well -- steal the movie. Bamber's entrance changes everything. But then, again and again, things continue to change -- in terms of both plot and character.

I don't want to make major claims for the movie, as it does have a bit of the "exercise" about it. Yet it is so well-written, -directed and -acted that it consistently rises above mere exercise into what I'd call nifty entertainment. Also, Money is not, thankfully, super-violent. Yet its occasional use of violence is very smartly handled.

So if you're browsing Netflix streaming and, as usual, find so much to choose from that you can't easily decide, take chance on this original and clever movie about money and its uses. It's also available on DVD for purchase or rental, and probably on other streaming venues, too.

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