Director/writer David Grovic’s low-rent noir thriller The Bag Man is blessed with a good cast led by John Cusack, Robert De Niro, and Crispin Glover and they deliver solid performances. But that’s the best that can be said about a movie that prizes stylish tropes over coherence or people worth caring about.
Cusack is Jack, a man first seen in some sort of business deal with Dragna (De Niro). Dragna wants Jack to pick up a bag that night, wait for him in Room 13 at a specific motel, deliver the bag, and in return score a big payday. Oh, and he’s never, ever to look inside the bag. Simple, right?
Well, let’s just say Jack doesn’t get a lot of sleep that night.
This premise could have been the starting point for a fun little crime story but, from the leggy femme fatale (Rebecca Da Costa) and the odd desk clerk (Glover) to the killer pimp (Sticky Fingaz) and his angry, little-person sidekick named Guano (Martin Klebba), Grovic seems more interested in coming up with cool-seeming, Tarantino-ish characters than having them doi anything really compelling.
By the time the intricate plot and not particularly satisfying payoff are revealed at the film’s end, many viewers will feel like they were the ones left holding the bag.
Exclusive: AMC Stonebriar, Frisco; and video-on-demand
THE BAG MAN
Director: David Grovic
Cast: John Cusack, Robert De Niro, Rebecca Da Costa
Rated: R (violence, sexual content, strong language)
Running time: 108 min.