John Cusack is stuck in a seedy motel with a mysterious bag while he waits for his boss, played by Robert De Niro, to show up in the new thriller "The Bag Man." NY1's Neil Rosen filed the following review.
John Cusack and Robert De Niro star in a new noir thriller that's predominately set in a seedy motel in the middle of nowhere. It's called "The Bag Man."
De Niro is Ravka, a mobster who hires Jack, played by Cusack, to do what initially sounds like an easy job.
Jack is supposed to pick up a mysterious bag, take it to a rundown motel and wait in a specific room until Ravka shows up, but there's also specific instructions that go along with this job, as Ravka says, "You do not look in the bag. You do not open this bag."
The motel itself is populated with a bizarre set a characters. There's a pimp with an eye patch, a Serbian dwarf and, most importantly, a prostitute, played by Rebecca Da Costa, who works her way into Jack's life and his business.
First-time writer-director David Grovic is trying to emulate Quentin Tarantino, but doesn't come close. Occasionally, there are some inspired, funny lines, and Cusack and De Niro do make the most of those few-and-far-between moments, delivering them masterfully, but sadly, most of the screen time is filled with an endless barrage of violence and gunfire as the storyline spins way out of control.
Da Costa's role, sadly, is like a cartoon character. The always reliable Crispin Glover is amusing here, playing another one of his weird characters. - this time, he's an overly inquisitive hotel manager - but Glover isn't on screen enough.
The movie is also shot poorly. Most of it takes place in the dark, and sometimes, it's hard to make out what's happening on screen.
I did want to know what was in the bag, so that kept me somewhat interested, but it was a long way to get there.
Talented people like Cusack and De Niro, who's really only in the film at the beginning and the end, should be more selective in the roles they take, because both of these guys have been making a lot of bad movie choices lately.
Neil Rosen's Big Apple Rating: 1 1/2 apples