#SUNDANCE: “EMILY THE CRIMINAL”
By David Baldwin
Emily (Aubrey Plaza) has a checkered past and her debts are mounting up. With prior arrests and charges on her record, well-paying jobs are hard to come by. When a friend at her catering job gives her a number to help with money, Emily lands herself in the middle of a credit card scam that proves to be just as lucrative as it is dangerous.
EMILY THE CRIMINAL is one of the most intense and thrilling movies of this year’s Festival. Full stop. First-time feature Writer/Director John Patton Ford has created one hell of a debut Feature, anchored by an unforgettable and unpredictable performance from Plaza. We know how strong and bold of an Actor she is, and she goes all in on that persona with Emily. She knows what she wants, and she will not let anyone stand in the way of her achieving her goals – even when her careless actions put her in immediate danger. The sheer raw brutality on display here will keep you on the edge of your seat, lending a gritty aura that hovers over the Film like a washed out haze. The feeling of dread and fear is palpable, and even with a second half turn slowing things down, you simply cannot look away from the dystopic world Emily inhabits.
Supporting turns from Theo Rossi (of Sons of Anarchy) and scene-stealer Gina Gershon are great, but they stand no chance of competing with Plaza. She is captivating and genuinely electric. You want her to succeed, even when she is or at least should be failing. Her harsh New Jersey accent is still ringing in my ears. I cannot wait for more people to experience this terrifying ride, and am looking forward to this being another stop on Plaza’s road to mega stardom.
EMILY THE CRIMINAL screens at Sundance as follows:
PREMIERE Jan 24 5:15 PM EST Available Until Jan 24 8:15PM EST
SECOND SCREENING Jan 26 10:00AM EST Available Until Jan 27 10:00AM EST