The Opportunists

"Good"

The Opportunists Review


Christopher Walken is a great choice to work with any first-time director/screenwriter, as he can "sell" any character put in front of him. From a sword-swinging headless horseman in Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow to a wristwatch smuggling Air Force Captain in Tarentino's Pulp Fiction, Walken breathes an air of believability into any persona, which is hardly something that every actor can do. Because of this, the films he is in always seem to be at the very least entertaining, and The Opportunists is no exception to the rule. Set against the backdrop of the Sunnyside, Queens neighborhood of New York, The Opportunists is the story of a man who can't seem to do the right thing, no matter how hard he tries.

Walken plays Victor Kelly, an ex-con turned auto mechanic struggling to be a responsible man, earning an honest living in the hopes of redeeming himself for the lifetime of trouble he has brought down on his small, fractured family. Add to the mix a young man named Michael (Peter McDonald) who appears at his doorstep, claiming to be a cousin from Ireland. Ironically, Michael has come to America to learn from the man he believes is a successful mobster - as legend back home tells it. What he actually finds in Vic is completely different. Vic is a proud man with some heavy financial headaches. Too bullheaded to accept help from his girlfriend (Cyndi Lauper). Vic soon realizes his skills as a mechanic are not nearly as marketable as his safe-cracking skills, and he reluctantly finds himself risking everything for one last shot to save his business and his family.

The Opportunists is the feature debut of Irish-born director Myles Connell, whose only other work appears to be an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Connell sold the idea to producers John Lyons and Tim Perell at the Sundance film festival and has done a good job of penning the script. All the characters seem real, not comical for the sake of levity, not two-dimensional for the sake of clarity, but believable for the sake of the story. And for that, Connell should be commended for a great first effort.

While the pacing of the film seems a bit slow (which is odd, considering the movie is only 90 minutes long) the story being told is fresh enough to keep you in your seat and interested in what is going on on-screen. Of particular note, Cyndi Lauper does surprisingly well opposite Walken, which helps add to the overall believability of the picture. Fresh and entertaining, The Opportunists is a tribute to flawed but worthy men everywhere.



The Opportunists

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 11th August 2000

Distributed by: First Look

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Fresh: 14 Rotten: 13

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Victor 'Vic' Kelly, as Michael 'Mikey' Lawler, as Rest Home Sister, Anne Pitoniak as Aunt Diedre 'Dee', Jim Mayzik as Rest Home Priest, as Miriam Kelly, as Pat Duffy, as Sally Mahon, Paul D'Amato as Dylan

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