Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Criminal Activities (2015)

Director: Jackie Earl Haley
Writer:    Robert Lowell
Cast:       John Travolta, Michael Pitt, Dan Stevens

Four young men make a risky investment together that puts them in trouble with the mob. To get out of this situation they are asked to kidnap a relative of a rival mob king for him. 

It is really a low-budget film by Hollywood standards despite boasting of a decent enough cast. It is a fun watch if you go in with low expectations. There are plenty of twists and it is not very hard to guess the main twist since it is not really a unique one in this genre. There is also this Tarantino vibe to the whole thing with the characters talking about things that seemingly don't appear to be all that relevant. In films like these, more often than not, the ending twist can seem totally disingenuous that would make the whole thing very convoluted in the impossible sense. That is not the case with this film since you can pretty much piece things together over the course of the film even if you are not entirely sure about the motivation. It does take the intelligence of its audience for granted and that is always good with respect to the level of engagement that you get with the film. 

Overall the film is a good one if you watch with right kind of expectations anticipating it to be a fun genre film. Performances are good enough and the film does have a low budget vibe, which actually suits its B-film sensibilities. It is the sort of film that you wouldn't like if it was done on a bigger budget. It is also a debut for both its director and writer and Jackie Earl Haley also plays the role of an enforcer with good effect.    

Rating: 3/5