An expat amateur conman helps out a pro and his wife in Greece.
Directed by Hossein Amini
Starring Oscar Isaac, Viggo Mortensen, and Kirsten Dunst
Initial Review by Sean Riley
Based on that description I added to my list and was excited. I loved Oscar Isaac in Ex Machina, Viggo Mortensen and Kirsten Dunst are recognizable so I was expecting a combination of excitement and beautiful scenery. We start strong. Oscar Isaac is very charismatic as tour guide conman Rydal and you can see all the girls on his tour swooning over him and his quick exchange rate swindles over lunch establish who he is. Viggo and Kirsten as Chester and Collette are introduced as the typical rich American tourists heavy on the cash and light on the local knowledge and language. The exchange in the bazaar when they overpay for the bracelet is brilliant. Rydal begins with throwing out a price that is more than enough then “negotiates” it down while tacking on a chunk for himself to the delight of the salesman as he gets paid and a couple American fat cats get screwed because they don’t know any better. So far I’m feeling like we’re getting a version of The Talented Mr Ripley.
This movie wasn’t particularly suspenseful to me. The only question was Did Rydal and Collette have sex or not. But even then who really cares. They tried very hard to play up the father figure relationship throughout, Chester reminded Rydal of his father, Rydals dad recently died and he didn’t attend the funeral, dads disappoint their children as they grow up because flaws become evident, Rydal went to Chester’s burial, etc etc. But the relationship they had was never like that. Rydal had a connection with Collette but was always distant from Chester, and if that’s the idea that it mirrors the relationship with Rydal’s dad it failed. If someone is a stand-in for your father because you feel guilty about failings in your real father/son relationship there is some overcompensating for that.
Isaac shined from a performance standpoint otherwise I didn’t care about these people. The cinematography fell flat and missed out on great opportunities based on the locales.