Director: Sacha Gervasi
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Chloë Grace Moretz, Catherine Keener, David Strathairn
Runtime: 1 hr 26 mins
Rating: NC16 (Sexual Scene)
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Opening Day: 28 December 2017
Synopsis: Following the mysterious death of a fellow student, Addison and his sassy friend Phoebe investigate the Washington D.C. in order to solve the case. As they dig deeper, they uncover a dangerous world of corruption and lies, and in the process put their own lives in jeopardy.
The word “Criminals” in the movie title is a bait to lure unsuspecting audiences into the theaters. Of course, the pretty faces of young stars Ansel Elgort (The Fault In Our Stars) and Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick Ass) plastered on the poster helps too.
Despite the stars involved and directed by Sacha Gervasi of Hitchcock and who also contributed the screenplay for Spielberg’s The Terminal, November Criminals has one of the most inconsequential plotting of all time. It’s a gigantic waste of time consider the original source material is rated by The New York Times as a thoughtful coming-of-age story.
Addison Schacht (Elgort) is an intelligent high school senior who frequently hangs out with his best friend, Phoebe (Moretz). On the day Phoebe lost her virginity to Addison, one of their fellow classmates, Kevin was fatally shot at his workplace. The incident changes their lives forever, as Addison becomes obsessed in finding out the truth behind the killing. And that includes checking on dangerous drug dealers and some other suspicious characters that could be involved in the murder.
While it’s commendable on the filmmakers’ part to create a slow, deep and reflective movie, the end results are far from it. For a start, the character of Addison Schacht is not someone you love instantly. He is too smart for his own good and overly pretentious, who in the world carries a beeper and listens to cassette tapes in this era? And he thinks he can be an overnight detective solving the death of his friend just by putting up posters, questioning the dead boy’s parents and questioning everyone during assembly.
The story attempts to intrigue the audiences with the mysterious death of Kevin and following it with Addison’s obsession with the case. However as the story unfolds, you realized there’s none of the conspiracy theories in which Addison has been spouting. As it turned out, there’s isn’t much of a case to begin with. Could it be the sudden death of his mum linked to his behavior problem? We aren’t sure about that but we are definitely sure Addison the modern-day philosopher should thank his lucky stars not ended up being shot dead by drug dealers.
November Criminals also stars veterans liked David Strathairn (Lincoln) and Catherine Keener (Get Out) as Addison’s worrying dad and Phoebe’s mum respectively. But they are both criminally underused even Chloë Grace Moretz is largely forgotten for the most part except scenes of her lying in bed with Ansel Elgort. Pity the stars involved, this teen crime thriller is just plain awful perhaps you should just go ahead and get the book.
(Not much of a conspiracy to talk about nor function as a decent thriller, this one has self-importance written all over it)
Review by Linus Tee