The Opportunists

For once, Christopher Walken plays a normal human being. Well, about as normal as he is ever going to get. Victor Kelly (Walken, Sleepy Hollow, Blast From the Past) is a simple blue-collar man who owns a small garage. Once, he was a convicted bank robber, but he served his time and is trying to start over. The Opportunists is chock full of meticulous acting, but lacks momentum, making the hour and a half running time seem a lot longer.

Kelly is having hard times. He is behind on rent and all his other bills. He is trying to pay his aunt's medical bills and business from his garage is slow. Michael (Peter MacDonald, Felicia's Journey, Captain Jack), a man claiming to be Victor's nephew, arrives and stays with them. Michael knows of Victor's past, and was hoping that he did not change. Pat (Donal Logue, The Tao of Steve, Steal This Movie!) also knows about Victor's past, and he is trying to persuade Victor to help him with one last heist. Pat's boss is skimming money illegally from his job, so stealing it will not harm anybody. Because of Victor's mounting debt, he reluctantly agrees. His girlfriend Sally (Cyndi Lauper, Vibes) and his daughter Miriam (Vera Farmiga, Autumn in New York, Return to Paradise) do not know about Victor's plans since they vehemently oppose any return to his former life.

Walken is famous for his dry, staccato delivery, and it serves him well here. He seems thoughtful and brooding, ever trying to look for a way to forgo the inevitable. Sometimes he seems a little too thoughtful. He is a great actor, and it's nice for once to see him not play some psychotic character. Writer/director Myles Connell's story moves a little too slowly. A lack of background music does not help. Everything else, including sets and action are also sparse, to shift the focus towards the actors. Much of what goes on is happening inside the mind of Victor, something that no one is privy to. The other characters are easier to read. Michael is not who he seems. He continually hides behind lies and his true motives remain hidden for a long time. Sally and Miriam are simple, good people with nothing to hide. Michael is clearly unused to being around people like this. The conflict in The Opportunists is not about the heist itself, it is about Victor coming to terms with his own actions. After that, the people around him must deal in their own way with him. In the end though, the result is not quite worth the wait.

Mongoose Rates It: Okay.
I hour, 29 minutes, Rated R for language.

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