As well as being the director behind such classic films as Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Gangs of New York and Casino, Martin Scorsese has spent his life championing and promoting film in myriad ways. He’s done much to further films from around the world and worked hard campaigning for their preservation. He continues to act in the capacity as a producer on many new films, however his first was The Grifters. For which he brought on-board Stephen Frears to direct.
Roy Dillon (John Cusack) is a low-level grifter living in Los Angeles. He hasn’t seen his mother Lilly (Anjelica Huston), with whom he’s always had a rocky relationship, for eight years. She works for a Bookmaker (Pat Hingle), travelling around the country manipulating the odds at race tracks. She’s also skimming money off from her boss. Lilly arrives unexpectedly to find Roy hurt and must vie against the spirited and beautiful Myra Langtry (Annette Bening) for his loyalty.
The Grifters is a slick and stylish neo-noir crime drama featuring three exceptional performances from the leads. Frears ensures that the pulpy nature of Jim Thompson’s source material is liberally splattered across the screen. The players are painted in bright and vibrant colours, their characters are both darkly garish and vibrantly sexy. The Grifters is a devilishly fun dive into the seedier side of life.
The Grifters is released on dual format DVD and Blu-Ray by 101 Films on their new Black Label on 21 May.