The Grifters (1990)
This is a movie about con men (and women) starring John Cusack, Annette Bening and Anjelica Huston. Roy (Cusack) is a fairly successful 25-year-old short-con man, who meets Myra (Bening) and becomes romantically connected. She finds out that he's a con man and reveals herself as a highly successful long-con artist (meaning she works less and takes people for more). Roy's estranged mother (Huston) finds him, and wants to be close to him. She works for a major bookie on the east coast, and has been pocketing large portions of his money without his knowledge. The mother - Lily as Roy calls her - takes Roy to the hospital as he has had internal bleeding from a failed con incident after taking a bat to the stomach.
Lily keeps reminding Roy that she has now given him life twice, and greatly disapproves of his love interest. Roy is torn between his mother and his lover, and things only get more complicated when the two women discover what the other does.
The Grifters was directed by Stephen Frears, who later directed High Fidelity and Dirty Pretty Things. If you're into con man flicks, this is one of the 3 best (along with The Sting and Matchstick Men) I've seen.
December 7, 2003