The Opportunists

THE OPPORTUNISTS. 2000

Director: Myles Connell

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



Christopher Walken doesn't usually get to play a regular Joe because he's too weirdly elegant, but in The Opportunists he's an auto mechanic trying & failing to make a go of the honest life. With bills mounting & family responsibilities weighing him down, he is talked into using his talent for breaking into vaults for one last sure-thing can't-lose score.

Now our hero seems to understand that the two nurdy night-guards who dreamed up the scheme for ripping off their boss had more time than intelligence to work out their scheme. And as for the young Irishman (Peter McDonald) so eager to get hooked up with American gangsters, our regular Joe says point blank, "There's something wrong with you."

He's gotta know it's a bad idea all round, but pride & financial desparation causes him to go along with a terrible plan partnered with incompetent losers bound to get him caught. It just doesn't seem possible that it could all go well.

Walken's character only turns to crime out of love. I won't try to explain how that works, but it's a real theme in the film, & it totally skews the film in unexpected directions since he's not greedy or violent or in any way a bad man except for doing crime.

The story is underplayed throughout, effectively humorous, moving with lackadaisical tension, devoid of shoot-outs, car-crashes, or fisticuffs. It's just four guys one of whom has a past three of whom admire their own fantasy of what that past must have been. The scenes of Walken with his girlfriend (Cindi Lauper who deserved a bigger film career than she ever quite achieved) have more importance than the heist itself because this is a film about the people more than about their actions.

There is a lot suspense from worrying about fuck-ups fucking up because they're such folly-driven misguided nice guys. It's a film with no pretentions & no exploitation content, just a good little story with characters who for an hour & a half can be cared about.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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