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Movie Review: 'The Bag Man' Doesn't Equal DeNiro Classics

by Todd A. Smith

Rebecca Da Costa shines in "The Bag Man" (Photo Credit: Motel Film, LLC).

Distrust is a Disease that Kills a Friendship


          A wise person once said something to the effect that if you have to put someone’s trust to the test you cannot truly trust them.

          In relationships, many people will go as far as to hack into someone’s Facebook account and read through a person’s text messages, but those methods which are used by couples to test someone’s trustworthiness pale in comparison to Dragna (Robert DeNiro) and his desire to test the loyalty of Jack (John Cusack) in “The Bag Man.”

          Dragna offers Jack an “exorbitant” amount of money to drive down to a sleazy motel in a small town to retrieve a bag and bring it back to him.  Jack is to not look at the contents of the bag. 

His mission is a simple retrieval and collection.  Sounds simple, but life is rarely that simple. 

However, life and the jobs we do to sustain our life are usually not as complex as what Jack experiences just for a stupid bag.

Despite the contents of the bag being confidential, everyone in the strange town seems to know about the bag and therefore are threats to Jack’s safety, from the beautiful Rivka (Rebecca Da Costa), to the one-eyed Lizard (Sticky Fingaz) to the diminutive Guano (Martin Kiebba) to local law enforcement officials like Larson (Dominic Purcell).

On the way to the motel, Dragna’s employee Bishop tries to kill Jack, and ultimately many of the local threats are permanently eliminated in his attempt to save his life and the life of Rivka.

Dragna explicitly tells Jack to check into room 13 at the motel, but his next door neighbors are nosey feds that pose a serious problem to the operation.

David Grovic’s film “The Bag Man” benefits from a strong cast and a popular subgenre of film, the gangster drama.

Da Costa’s star shines the brightest even playing opposite Academy Award winners like DeNiro.

DeNiro is his usual stellar self, but this gangster drama is not the epic that “The Godfather: Part II” or “Goodfellas” was.

Actually, “The Bag Man” is simply a weird film from blue-haired prostitutes to a Serbian little person.  There are just too many eccentricities for one film to handle. 

With all of the star power from DeNiro to Cusack to Purcell, one would think that Grovic could have come up with a better story to show off the exploits of his actors.

 “The Bag Man” obviously tackles one of the top tenets of the underworld, which is the trust factor.  But to see an entire theatrical production centered on a test of loyalty is a little boring unfortunately.

The screenplay by Grovic and Paul Conway is just not good enough for good actors.  Despite their acting talents, they are unable to turn “The Bag Man” into a typical DeNiro classic.







This article was published on Friday 07 March, 2014.
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