Whoa! How did I miss this one when it was new? It’s the first film written and directed by the Wachowski Brothers (they disowned Assassins) back when Lana was still Laurence. This is the team who gave us the startlingly original The Matrix (and the sadly derivative follow-ups), V For Vendetta, and the—in my lonely minority opinion—badly under-rated Speed Racer, as well as Cloud Atlas, which I haven’t seen yet but look forward to. It is a classic film noir, but very updated to modern sensibilities and standards.
Gina Gershon—one of the most badly under-utilized actresses out there, IMHO—is a butch dyke who is renovating an apartment in Chicago. The walls are thin; she can hear everything going on next door. The neighbors are that weird sexpot with the little girl voice, Jennifer Tilly, and her asshole mobbed-up money-laundering sort-of boyfriend, the always deeply menacing Sopranos motherfucker Joe Pantoliano. But Jennifer is actually a lesbian, too, and she falls hard for Gina. (Amazingly explicit sex scene.)
Two million dollars goes missing, and a man is tortured next door (very, very graphic) to find out where it is. And almost inevitably, Gina, a thief just out after five years in the pen, comes up with a scheme to steal the money. That part isn’t hard at all, but as always, the getting away with it has some serious complications. The girls don’t do everything right, they are not criminal geniuses, there are always things you didn’t plan on, but they are damn good at thinking fast and coming up with emergency plans. Can’t say much more without spoiling it, but it gets wonderfully complicated, even funny at times as you see them and Joe reacting to situations that mean life or death. This is one of the best I’ve ever seen of its type. Great writing, great acting, great shooting … just great all around.