LIFE OF CRIME written and directed by Daniel Schechter, from the novel by Elmore Leonard, with Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey and Tim Robbins. A VVS Films release. 99 minutes. For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
Set in 1978, this adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel The Switch follows a pair of small-time Michigan crooks (John Hawkes, Yasiin Bey) who kidnap the wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a local developer (Tim Robbins) while he's off visiting his mistress (Isla Fisher), only to find their mark isn't particularly interested in getting her back. Complications develop, as does a curious connection between the hostage and one of her captors.
Honouring the rhythms of Leonard's dialogue, writer/director Dan Schechter gives the actors the room to deliver those lovely crisp speeches and poke-poke-poke insults the author uses to build tension on the page.
But the pacing of the picture is strangely slack. Major supporting characters disappear for long stretches of time, while others, like Mark Boone Jr.'s unbalanced heavy, barely even register despite near-constant presence.
Still, Aniston and Hawkes are a pleasure to watch together, and the soundtrack is great, even if it owes a little too much to Jackie Brown and Out Of Sight.