Two swindlers who con their way through life, Juan (Gaston Pauls) and Marcos (Ricardo Darin), meet up and concoct a bigger scam, trying to sell a fake set of valuable stamps known as the Nine Queens, from wartime Germany. Their escalating game involves escalating lies, cons and swindles, and a risky attempt to con a wealthy stamp collector. But something is not ever right about any of this. . .
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
This thoroughly engaging and endearing film is as much of a swindle as the plot itself, stealthily stealing your concentration and your affection even as it cheats you of a credible plot. The closing scene offers a reveal that turns our expectations on their head, but it doesn’t stand scrutiny – it’s a sleight of hand. Winner of several awards and much acclaim, its popularity is explained by its chutzpah which alone makes it a rewarding outing, with great performances, lots of throwaway humour and a real story teller’s yarn of crooks with more dash than cash. Nine Queens is a heist movie with a twist or two, but the twists come from the characters, which is why it works for an audience. The characters are the key to its success as a popular film, and its offbeat story is so well done it entertains broadly. In some ways it reminds me of the great French films about crooks in the late 50s, where actors like Jean Paul Belmondo and Jean Servais created the European idea of cool crims. In this film, the cast make the film zing, and the director keeps things skipping nicely.
Review by Louise Keller:
It takes a swindler to know a swindler, and Nine Queens is full of them. Swindlers and swindles, that is. A wonderfully entertaining and polished heist movie, Nine Queens is more than just a splendid con. One swindle merges into the next, until we are absolutely dizzy, and are unsure of who is swindling who? Or whom. Everybody wants something, and then some. But I don’t want to tell you too much about the plot, because there are so many joys in discovering how each twist and turn intertwines and creates a life of its own. The script fascinates and never lets up, while the performances by the central trio keep us glued like magnets. I couldn’t bear to look away for a single second in case I missed some of the magic. It’s that kind of film. It’s funny, tragic, quirky and totally compelling. With its upbeat music soundtrack and crooked, but likeable characters, Nine Queens is a winning hand indeed.
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FABIAN BIELINSKY talks to Andrew L. Urban
NINE QUEENS (M)
CAST: Gastón Pauls, Ricardo Darin, Leticia Brédice, Tomas Fonzi, Ignasi Abadal
PRODUCER: Pablo Bossi
DIRECTOR: Fabián Bielinsky
SCRIPT: Fabián Bielinsky
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Marcelo Camorino
EDITOR: Sergio Zottola
MUSIC: César Lerner
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Marcelo Salvioli
RUNNING TIME: 114 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Niche Pictures
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 26, 2002 (Advance screening September 20, 21, 22)
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: AV Channel
VIDEO RELEASE: April 16, 2003 (also on DVD)