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Movies & TV

03rd Apr 2023

One of the best hidden gems of the decade is finally available to watch at home

Rory Cashin

Emily The Criminal

94% on Rotten Tomatoes, it never got an Irish cinema release.

Released in cinemas in the States in August 2022, but skipping Irish cinemas altogether, Emily The Criminal is the definition of a hidden gem. With a production budget of $2 million, the movie made only $2.2 million at the box office, so it is fair to say that very, VERY few people actually saw this incredibly taut thriller.

The movie stars Aubrey Plaza as Emily, a young woman trying her best to get out from under a mountain of student debt but find it increasingly difficult to find a decent job due to her criminal record. One day she crosses paths with Youcef (Theo Rossi), who introduces her to the world of credit card scamming. Seeing the potential for wide expansion, Emily soon hatches a scheme that will help them get rich quick, but it also gets them the attention of some very dangerous people within the Los Angeles criminal underworld.

Reviews for Emily The Criminal

Tackling the issues of debt, criminality and system set in place to ensure past mistakes can never be truly forgiven and therefore some people are forced to repeat them, Plaza is incredibly good here, stowing away the usual sarcastic-heavy characters we’ve seen her play in Parks & Rec and The White Lotus. Instead, the brilliant script puts her in the middle of a very tense, 93-minute thriller without an ounce of fat on it.

With a score of 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, critics did their best to spread the word of the movie’s greatness:

Indiewire – “You always know a Plaza performance will be good, but over the past few years, Plaza has seemed to make it a priority to surprise her audiences with just how good she is.”

Observer – “At a time when few movies display either a shred of originality or a fresh slant on an old genre, and so many are little more than cookie-cutter derivations of each other, it’s energizing to see something as keenly observed and uniquely competent as Emily the Criminal. It’s a tense and engaging thriller that looks and feels distinctively different.”

The Wrap – “In 95 minutes, Ford unfurls a gritty and suspenseful L.A. noir that also serves to examine the structural issues that uphold wealth inequality in this country. But Emily the Criminal isn’t trying to be preachy or political, it’s just authentic, and urgent, and Plaza’s performance keeps the emotional and physical honesty at the forefront.”

Emily The Criminal is available to watch in Ireland and the UK on Sky Cinema or with a NOW Cinema Membership right now.

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