Starring: Sam Rockwell, William H. Macy, Luis Guzman, Isaiah Washington, George Clooney, Patricia Clarkson, Michael Jeter
Directed by: Anthony and Joe Russo
Synopsis: When petty thief Cosimo is given the plan for the perfect heist he has to get out of jail, fast. But with Cosimo stuck in the joint, it’s up to his girl Rosalind to track down a patsy. But while no one wants to do the time for Cosimo’s crime, everybody seems to know a guy who will – and for a share, they’re willing to track him down.
Two of my previous reviews have been Palookaville and Bottle Rocket, both films about inept but loveable bank robbers. This is a genre I have great affection for, so I thought I would add Welcome To Collinwood to the list. Although not in the same league as Bottle Rocket, it is a fun little movie, full of quirky characters and some pretty funny farce.
Luis Guzman plays Cosimo, ensconced in jail when he hears about a ‘bellini’ (a perfect heist). Not one for wanting to miss out on a score, Cosimo tasks his girlfriend to find a patsy who will do some jail time in exchange for money. Pero (Rockwell) agrees but double crosses Cosimo, finding out about the bellini and leaving Cosimo in jail. Pero gets together with six other amateur thieves of varying degrees of competency to carry out the heist. Things don’t go well.
There are some great characters in ‘Collinwood’, including Michael Jeter’s hobo-esque Toto and William H. Macy’s single dad Riley. Sam Rockwell and Patricia Clarkson are on top form as usual, and Luis Guzman is always watchable. Co-producer George Clooney pops up in a brief role as a tattoed, wheelchair bound safe cracker. The film itself plays to the classic caper/heist/farce rules (opening empty safes, hanging off of window ledges with your trousers around your ankles) and despite not being hilariously funny, has more than a few moments to make you smile.
The strength definitely lies in the great cast playing off against each other (they all get fairly equal screen time) and it just has an easy going charm to it that makes you root for these losers even though they are beyond stupid. I have read that people sense a Coen Brothers feel to the movie, which I agree with.
Welcome To Collinwood was a fairly small release back in the day, so it may have escaped many peoples attention, despite featuring George Clooney prominently on the DVD cover. It’s a shame that it’s not more well known as I think it’s a delightful little movie.