Nine Queens (Spanish: Nueve reinas) is a 2000 Argentine crime drama film written and directed by Fabián Bielinsky and starring Ricardo Darín, Gastón Pauls, Leticia Brédice, Tomás Fonzi and Alejandro Awada.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Fabián Bielinsky|
|Produced by||Cecilia Bossi|
|Written by||Fabián Bielinsky|
|Music by||César Lerner|
|Edited by||Sergio Zottola|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista International|
The story centers on two con artists who meet and decide to cooperate in a major scam. The film was nominated for 28 awards and won 21 of them, and is now considered a classic in Argentine film history.
At a convenience store early in the morning, Juan (Gastón Pauls), a con artist, successfully scams the cashier, and attempts the same scam again on the very next shift. Marcos (Ricardo Darín), who has been observing him, pretends to be a police officer and takes Juan away. As soon as they are far enough, Marcos reveals he is a fellow con man. Juan asks Marcos to teach him his ways, because his father, who is also a con man, is in jail and he needs to raise money quickly in order to bribe a judge into reducing his father's sentence from ten years to six months.
Soon after, an elaborated scheme seemingly falls into their laps: Sandler (Oscar Nuñez), a former business associate of Marcos, needs his help to sell counterfeit copies he made of some rare stamps called "The Nine Queens". The potential mark is Gandolfo (Ignasi Abadal), a rich Spaniard facing deportation and desperate to smuggle his wealth out of the country. Gandolfo has no time to fully check if the stamps are authentic but he hires an expert (Leo Dyzen) to do a quick check and is satisfied. He offers $450,000 for the stamps, with the exchange agreed to take place that evening. In the intervening time, the stamp expert demands a cut from Juan and Marcos, as he knows the stamps were forged. The fake stamps are then stolen out of Juan and Marcos' hands by thieves on motorcycles who, unaware of their value, toss them into a river.
To salvage the scheme, Marcos approaches Sandler's widowed sister Berta (Elsa Berenguer), the owner of the real stamps, who agrees to sell them for $250,000. Marcos can put up $200,000 and asks Juan to contribute the remaining $50,000. Juan becomes suspicious since Marcos seems to need exactly the amount that Juan has saved up, but as the $50,000 is not enough to help his father, Juan reluctantly agrees. They buy the real stamps and go to Gandolfo's hotel, but he says he has changed his mind and will now only buy the stamps if he also gets to sleep with Marcos' sister Valeria (Leticia Brédice), a hotel employee. Valeria's price is that Marcos must confess to their younger brother Federico (Tomás Fonzi) how Marcos cheated him out of their family inheritance in Italy. After he does so, Valeria spends the night with Gandolfo, who pays for the stamps with a certified check the next morning. Juan and Marcos rush to bank, but learn it has crashed, making the check worthless. A disillusioned Juan walks away as Marcos gets back into the bank.
In the final scene, Juan arrives at a warehouse, where he greets the motorcycle thieves, Gandolfo, Sandler and his sister Berta, and his fiancée Valeria – revealing that the real con was to swindle Marcos out of $200,000 as revenge for all the times he cheated his family and his partners.
- Gastón Pauls as Juan
- Ricardo Darín as Marcos
- Leticia Brédice as Valeria
- Ignasi Abadal as 'Vidal Gandolfo'
- Claudio Rissi as the real voice of 'Vidal Gandolfo'
- Tomás Fonzi as Federico
- Elsa Berenguer as Berta
- Oscar Núñez as Sandler
- Celia Juárez as Mrs. Sandler
- Antonio Ugo as D'Agostino
- Jorge Noya as Anibal
- Alejandro Awada as Washington
- Roberto Rey as Texan
- Leo Dyzen as stamp expert
- Ricardo Díaz Mourelle as Ramiro
The film opened wide in Argentina on August 31, 2000. The film was screened at various film festivals, including: the Telluride Film Festival, United States; the Toronto International Film Festival, Canada; the Medellín de Película, Colombia; the Portland International Film Festival, United States; the Cognac Festival du Film Policier, France; the München Fantasy Filmfest, Germany; the Norwegian International Film Festival, Norway; and others.
In the United States it opened on a limited basis on April 19, 2002.
The film's screenplay was adapted in the 2004 film Criminal. It was also used as a basis for three Indian films: the Bollywood film Bluffmaster! (2005), the Malayalam film Gulumal (2009) and the Telugu film All the Best (2012).
Nine Queens garnered mostly positive reviews from film critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 92% approval rating based on 95 reviews, with an average rating of 7.45/10. The site's consensus reads: "Deliciously twist-filled, Nine Queens is a clever and satisfying crime caper." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 80/100 based on 30 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Roger Ebert, in his review of Nine Queens for the Chicago Sun-Times, gave the film a score of three out of four stars, commending its screenplay and calling the film "an elegant and sly deadpan comedy." Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune awarded the film three-and-a-half out of four stars, and called it "One of the most clever, most enjoyable thrillers in years." Orlando Sentinel film critic Roger Moore gave the film four stars out of five, writing, "the laughs are dark, the puzzle steadily more engrossing and the surprises, just like Heist, are doozies, up to the finale." Edward Guthmann of the San Francisco Chronicle also gave the film a positive review, writing: "Fast-paced and unerringly surprising, Nine Queens is nicely performed by a large cast [...] David Mamet plowed this con-the-con turf in Heist, House of Games and The Spanish Prisoner, but Bielinsky, in his directing debut, makes it seem sassy and reinvented."
Geoff Pevere of The Toronto Star wrote in his review of the film: "If Nine Queens draws you on a journey that eventually leads up a garden path toward your own suckerhood, it's all the more pleasurable for having done so with such slick expertise." BBC film critic Tom Dawson called the film "a welcome addition to the genre" and a "taut thriller a powerful allegorical resonance."
- Argentine Film Critics Association Awards: Silver Condor; Best Actor, Ricardo Darín; Best Cinematography, Marcelo Camorino; Best Director, Fabián Bielinsky; Best Editing, Sergio Zottola; Best Film; Best Original Screenplay, Fabián Bielinsky; Best Supporting Actress, Elsa Berenguer; 2001.
- Biarritz International Festival of Latin American Cinema: Best Actor, (tie) Ricardo Darín and Gastón Pauls; for Nueve reinas; 2001.
- Bogotá Film Festival: Audience Award, Fabián Bielinsky; Golden Precolumbian Circle, Best Director, Fabián Bielinsky; 2001.
- Lima Latin American Film Festival: Elcine First Prize, Fabián Bielinsky; 2001.
- Lleida Latin-American Film Festival: Audience Award, Fabián Bielinsky; Best Director, Fabián Bielinsky; 2001.
- Oslo Films from the South Festival: Audience Award, Fabián Bielinsky; 2001.
- Cognac Festival du Film Policier: Grand Prix, Fabián Bielinsky; Premiere Award, Fabián Bielinsky; 2002.
- Fantasporto: Directors' Week Award, Best Screenplay, Fabián Bielinsky; 2002.
- Portland International Film Festival: Audience Award Best First Film, Fabián Bielinsky; 2002.
- Sant Jordi Awards: Best Foreign Actor, Ricardo Darín. Also for La Fuga (2001) and El Hijo de la Novia (2001); 2002.
- Presented as a metaphor of Argentina, "Nine Queens" is released in New York Diario Clarín, 10-04-2002 (in Spanish)
- Nine Queens Box Office Mojo
- Nueve reinas on IMDb.
- "Nine Queens (Nueve reinas) (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- "Nine Queens". Metacritic. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
- Ebert, Roger (May 10, 2002). "Nine Queens movie review & film summary (2002)". RogerEbert.com. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Wilmington, Michael (May 10, 2002). "'Nine Queens' an ingenious thriller". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Moore, Roger (July 12, 2002). "For grifters, it's all a game". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Guthmann, Edward (April 26, 2000). "Film Clips / Also opening today: 'Nine Queens'". SFGate. Retrieved March 10, 2007.
- Dawson, Tom (July 2, 2002). "Nine Queens (Nueve Reinas) (2002)". BBC. Archived from the original on December 21, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2020.