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Rated 2.91 stars
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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
How Could Anything Go Wrong?
by Betty Jo Tucker

A deal you canít refuse, he states.

Money just waits to change their fates.

His friends sign on, but things go bad.

And now they wish they never had.

 

In Criminal Activities

the actors play their parts to please.   

They each shine in their movie roles

as guys willing to sell their souls.

 

Travolta and Dan Stevens seem

to make the most of every scene.

Add mob and vengeance to the mix,

and itís a film you should not nix.

   

Pulp Fiction vibes enhance the show.

Pay close attention so youíll know  

whatís happening before your eyes

or you might miss a big surprise.

I love a good thriller. Thatís why Criminal Activities fascinated me. It boasts an excellent cast plus exciting storytelling about insider trading, the Mob, kidnapping, and revenge. But it was a good 15 minutes into the movie before I recognized Dan Stevens, who portrays one of the lead characters. Heís nothing like the man he played in Downton Abbey. No sculptured good looks or gentility here, folks. Stevens transforms himself into the extreme opposite type of character for this role -- with help from a curly hair style, twisted lips and frustrating manner. He really is an amazing actor! And John Travolta brings his own special flair to the ruthless crime boss part. These two are the standouts, but all other cast members also excel.

The story deals with four friends who make a very unwise investment with money borrowed from a mob boss. In order to pay him back, they are forced into a  kidnapping/hostage situation. To make matters worse, they face a deadline -- and if things donít work out, their lives are in danger. Suspense ensues.      

If I reveal more about Criminal Activities, I fear it might spoil the film for you. Thatís a no-no, of course. However, the quotes below offer hints concerning what viewers are in for.  

Revenge is sweet Ė and not fattening. --- Alfred Hitchcock

Beware the fury of a patient man. --- John Dryden  

(Released on November 20, 2015, by RLJ Entertainment and not yet rated by MPAA. I think it should get an ďRĒ for language and violence.)

DIRECTOR: Jackie Earle Haley

WRITER: Robert Lowell

CAST: Michael Pitt, Dan Stevens, Christopher Abbott, Rob Brown, Edi Gathegi, Jackie Earle Haley, John Travolta.

For more information about Criminal Activities, please go to the IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes website.


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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