what i'm watching: nine queens

I have another movie recommendation for you.

One type of film Allan and I both really enjoy are "con" or "caper" movies, where confidence people create elaborate sleights-of-hand, and the audience is the ultimate mark. The best known and loved con movies are "The Usual Suspects" and "The Sting", both excellent films. For us, the gold standard will always be David Mamet's "House of Games," a movie so mind-bending that we've seen in multiple times and are still taken, each time. David Mamet also made "The Spanish Prisoner," another very good con movie.

This week we saw an Argentinean movie called "Nine Queens" (Nuevas Reinas), which has much in common with all these films. Watching the movie, I knew the trick couldn't be as simple as what appeared to be going on - I knew I was being taken - but I couldn't figure out how. At one point, with the movie on pause, Allan suggested what turned out to be the truth, but we both dismissed it as impossible.

At the very end, just before the truth was revealed, I had a flash of revelation, but no time to work it out. It took us quite a bit of discussion after the movie to piece it all together, which is one sign of a well-constructed con.

"Nine Queens" is Argentinean writer-director's Fabian Bielinsky's debut, and an extremely impressive one. He cites "House of Games" as his principal inspiration. I won't say this is as good as "The Usual Suspects," with that incredible performance by Kevin Spacey, but if you enjoy these kinds of movies, don't miss this one.

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