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.
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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.
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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.