Director: John Patton Ford
Cast: Aubrey Plaza as Emily Benetto, Theo Rossi as Youcef, Megalyn Echikunwoke as Liz, Emily’s bestfriend, Jonathan Avigdori as Khalil
Emily the Criminal is a 2022 crime thriller film directed by John Patton Ford. Emily the Criminal, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2022.
It was released by Low Spark Film and distributed by Vertical Entertainment. This film runs for 93 minutes, and both English and Spanish are spoken.
Emily is desperate for cash, hampered by student debt and barred from the labour market due to a previous criminal incident. She is compelled to take a ‘dummy shipping’ job where she will make some great money, but this turns her into a full-fledged criminal.
A bit about Emily the Criminal
Emily is an art student with a lot of school debt. Emily is broke, and she is seeking work that would pay off her loan. She longs for freedom, perhaps from debt.
Emily’s food delivery job, which she describes as “not real”, is barely enough to cover her bills, so she is in severe need of money. She fills in for a co-worker, and he compensates her by connecting her with a ‘dummy shipping’ company.
She decided to test out this dummy shipping job while keeping her regular work.
Yousef and his cousin Khalil manage the credit card scam organization.
When she arrives at the warehouse where she will be readied for her first assignment, she is surprised to see other individuals present. She keeps her cool and follows the process.
“You’ll make $200 in the next hour, but you’ll have to do something unlawful”, Yousef explains. He further assured them that they would not be in danger and would not endanger anyone but that they would be breaking the law. Everyone who disagreed with this was offered the option to leave.
Emily, unsure, started to leave but was stopped by Yousef. She asked a few questions before deciding to stick around and see how the first task went.
Emily did her duty despite her fear. Yousef offered her the promised $200 and informed her she could make more if she accepted the next task.
Seeing how much money was made from the dummy shipping job, which included ‘selling TVs’ and other goods, Emily wanted to be trained so she could make more money for herself. Yousef agreed, but with a condition.
With her performance, Emily (Aubrey Plaza) stole the show in Emily, the criminal. She was fantastic, electrifying, magnificent, and magnetic, as portrayed in the trailer, and she is so much more. She was, in my opinion, the highlight of the film—what a fantastic performance.
Emily is a fantastic heroine. As played by Aubrey Plaza, Emily is a captivating and sensitive character who is not very likeable. She maintains the proper distance to carry off this ethically murky narrative.
She demonstrates that none of this is Emily’s choice; everything she does is out of need, and she reacts to a toxic culture that has mistreated and abused her. It’s tough to imagine another actress capturing the genuine vulnerability so effectively.
Other characters, such as Theo Rossi and Megalyn Echikunwoke, performed admirably despite their little screen time.
I adore the director’s work; exceptional work by the director. Without a writer/director like John Patton Ford, Emily The Criminal might have been another morally dubious thriller about a lowlife criminal whose life spirals out of control due to her illegal actions. However, with a healthy dose of social commentary and empathetic character work, he transforms this story into something much more complex and conflicted.
Such a relatable movie. It also had a few humorous moments, which I appreciated. Since I enjoy comedies, I always enjoy films that contain funny moments.
I also appreciate that Emily the Criminal raised some ethical issues. Emily regularly disobeys the law (as her job stated), exhibits little remorse for the people she hurt, and continuously aggravates the problem by letting her desperation rule her actions.
Emily is a victim of the capitalist society, so even though she’s done wrong, the audience finds themselves pulling for her. She cannot pay off her college loans since she can’t get employment due to her minor criminal history.
She doesn’t have a choice, and while the movie does not attempt to justify her criminal behaviour, it portrays the whole thing as a tragedy that happens in society.
Although Emily the Criminal was a fantastic movie, it had significant issues. One of them is that the conclusion appeared hurried. As a result, I noticed a few minor holes in the plot.
Both the sound quality and the movie editing might have been better.
The movie’s ending was likewise entirely predictable. Considering how high this film went, I wasn’t too happy.
Fun Fact About Emily the Criminal
Remember the car pursuit scene in the movie where Emily barely avoids being attacked by a car salesman who finds out she bought a car fraudulently? Plaza claims to have done much of the driving in the film herself, and she admits that she did so “more dangerously than the stunt driver.”
“The stunt coordinator repeatedly instructed me to slow down and take it easy, claims Plaza. But you only had a few opportunities. You must put it into practice”. – Plaza says, as reported by USAToday
I will sum up by saying that Emily the Criminal is a riveting criminal thriller that depicts what occurs in a capitalist world. Because of the sex scene, language, and violence, I was happy with the movie and will suggest it to crime movie fans above the age of 16.
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You can watch Emily the Criminal on Apple TV+ or download it here
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