Welcome to Collinwood (2002)


Coming across as a pseudo “The Sting” except with much more comedy, five lowlife criminals discover the ultimate heist and decide to pull it off, but discover it’s not as glorious as it may be. This is hilarious. I have never laughed so hard in a modern comedy as I have with this; most of the antics reminded me of an “I Love Lucy” episode from the incident in the funhouse, to the water filled sewer, to when they have to cross the heated pipe and carnage ensues, this is hilarious. Director/writer team Anthony Russo and Joe Russo create fresh and original comedy out of a typical plot for a movie that could have easily fumbled into bad territory.

The duo manages to hash up some hilarious and original devices in the film including the great scene in the funhouse, and the scene where Pero breaks up an attempted robbery on the target’s housemaid (Jennifer Esposito) just to name a few. The dialogue is also very fresh and the banter among the thieves very witty and snappy. What carries this movie aside from the comedy are the excellent performances from the incredible cast. Everyone manages to shine in this film including Sam Rockwell who manages to steal every scene and the movie as a horrible boxer named Pero.  William H. Macy is hilarious as a single father Riley who must raise his son by himself, there’s even the hilarious scene where he takes too much pain killers and begins tumbling around an apartment.

The Recently deceased Michael Jeter plays humpback poor thief Toto who fumbles around a lot and eats everything in sight. He’s hilarious in this role even though his character is hopelessly pathetic, The great Patricia Clarkson is excellent as the no-nonsense rough and tumble female of the group Rosalind, who doesn’t have much of a big role in the heist but plays off well against Luiz Guzman. Luiz Guzman has a memorable and hilarious role as Cosimo who’s considered in the movie as: “The biggest asshole in Collinwood” and discovers the Bellini wanting desperately to escape jail and perform the heist. Producer George Clooney gives a hilarious and memorable walk on role as a crippled ex crack safer Jerzy who pretty much steals the scenes he’s in when he’s training the hapless thieves in breaking into a safe.

I was never really certain if the mixing of modern and noir objects and gadgets were the Russo’s intentions or if it was because of low budgeting. I was pretty annoyed and wondered what it was supposed to mean as a whole. I was also very angry with the orange filter displayed on the camera throughout the entire film. Also, I was rather annoyed with the climax of the movie, because it’s a pretty sad and pathetic end to such a hilarious film. However, directors Anthony and Joe Russo create the noir feeling very well while mix the modern devices into the story as well. The setting if often very odd with the meshing of different era items into the story randomly. This is a great robbery farce enforced by excellent writing and great acting from a stellar cast.