Review | Emily The Criminal: Aubrey Plaza Delivers Exceptional Performance in Mystery Thriller

Film watched during the 2022 Sundance Film Festival

Student loan debt is some of the highest in US history, which has become a chronic problem among young people there. This dreadful financial dilemma in the life of a recent graduate – and also one of the biggest social controversies in the country – is the foundation of Emily The Criminal. Here, a young woman in debt decides to enter the underworld of credit card fraud in order to get the money needed to pay off her mortgage installments.

In his directorial debut, John Patton Ford quickly delves into a controversial subject, making it ground zero for an electrifying thriller. Moving away from the most formulaic way of making suspense and delivering something more authentic and refreshing, he makes Emily The Criminal an interesting mix between the aforementioned genre and a sour dash of social criticism. With Aubrey Plaza showing new facets in his already passionate performance, the feature explores the criminal underworld and how ordinary people with such promising futures can end up being drawn to a life in the shadows, due to the consequences of their choices.

The facilities and inconveniences of criminality begin to transform Emily’s life (plaza) in an upside-down adventure. Between her ordinary life – far from the dream job that expensive college had promised her – and the schemes made with fraudulent cards, we witness the metamorphosis of the protagonist, pressed in a brilliant performance delivered by plazawhich contrasts with Theo Rossi (Army of the Dead: Invasion of Las Vegas). Here, she further consolidates her versatility on screen, showing a different intensity. Fighting between ethics and necessity, she is the definition of a person relegated to the margins of society, who learns to survive with what they have, whatever the cost.

A criminal thriller that holds our attention and takes us to the intensity of the protagonist, the film involves the audience in an unusual and chaotic spiral of events capable of transporting us to the screen. With a precise direction, which highlights the shadows in a more raw way and delivers quick shots that take us to the action, the film takes few breaths and manages to surprise with a great turnaround, followed by an accurate ending.

And although it is not a completely unforgettable production, the production of Ford delivers what moviegoers love about the genre: an original story with a breathtaking climax. Attractive in its first minutes, dense and fast-paced, Emily The Criminal has excellent reviews of the student loan industry and has everything to become a success, sailing among diverse audiences, offering excellent popcorn entertainment.

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