Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"The Bagman" with John Cusak and Robert DeNiro (2013)

This is one strange movie! A man named Jack, played by John Cusak, is hired by a man named Dragna, who is played by Robert DeNiro, to pick up a bag and bring it to him at a later date and location. No matter what happens during this assignment, he is not to look inside of the bag or even inquire as to its contents. He is to be paid a large sum of money for this, money which he desperately needs.

From the opening scene in which Dragna contracts with Jack to take the assignment, the film abruptly leaps to Jack already having the bag and waiting to meet Dragna at a run-down motel. The cast of characters there include a blue wigged hooker, a midget, and a pimp. The manager of the motel is in a wheelchair; his mother’s. And the local police are decidedly uninviting.

The hooker, Rivka, played by Rebecca DeCosta, has some sort of problem with her pimp and ends up taking refuge in Jack’s room. It is implied that she has looked into the bag when Jack was out of the room. She, of course, denies having done so. The two wind up being unlikely accomplices as the film progresses and Jack waits for the elusive and mysterious Dragna to show up with his money.

The film ends on a strange note and I will not ruin that for you. I will say this; I am getting a bit tired of films which seem to revolve around a mysterious bag or briefcase with something inside that can never be disclosed. This was the signature hook in “Pulp Fiction” and it worked well in that film.

But since that time we have been deluged with films such as this one, which contain a requisite cast of odd characters and something which cannot be opened.  In some films they even let you know what the package contained; the last one I saw used a head. Hey, who knows, that might have made this film work. 

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