Nine queens (Nueve reinas is the original title) is a 2000 Argentinian movie written and directed by Fabián Bielinsky and starring the great Ricardo Darín, Gastón Pauls and Leticia Brédice. The film mixes a few genres including thriller, crime, drama, and even comedy, and I think that it does so very well. The story manages to capture the audience easily thanks to its tight rhythm, although probably the plot would not survive a “cold” credibility analysis, since the film events unfold in a fairly implausible way! But a film like this one makes me willing to forgive the unlikelihood of the plot thanks to a fantastic characterization of the characters and thanks to the series of twists giving an incredible rhythm to the film. The effect is similar to that of The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008): the story is totally far-fetched, but it’s so much fun to watch that I don’t feel like questioning the plot!
In Nine queens we follow the two crooks Darín and Pauls who become associates in order to make some money by cheating naive people in the streets of Buenos Aires. Then, suddenly, a lifetime opportunity materializes: they have the possibility to sell a well-made copy of the nine queens (the nueve reinas of the title), a series of stamps of great value, to a buyer who’s in a hurry to leave the city. Will they succeed? I don’t want to spoil the ending, so let me warn you: I’m entering spoiler territory now! If you haven’t seen the film, watch it first and come back here later!
Although it’s clear from the beginning that Nine queens is the classic story of the smart crook who gets cheated, it’s not trivial to understand how Darín will come out of the story without a penny by the end of the film. Furthermore, the interest of the audience constantly increases due to the numerous twists that are revealed one after the other during the movie. Another reason of interest is to see Buenos Aires, presented here as a city where EVERYONE tries survive and to get rich in every possible (illegal) way! The scene in which Darín explains all the misdeeds that are happening before Pauls’ incredulous eyes is simply amazing.
To conclude, the film deserves to be seen. An American remake was made in 2004, Criminal, which I’ve never heard of and which I will certainly avoid like the plague: the original movie is great, why watching a remake? Ciao!