Nine Queens

  (Redirected from Nueve reinas)

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.[3]

Nine Queens
Theatrical release poster
SpanishNueve reinas
Directed byFabián Bielinsky
Produced byCecilia Bossi
Pablo Bossi
Written byFabián Bielinsky
StarringRicardo Darín
Gastón Pauls
Leticia Brédice
Tomás Fonzi
Music byCésar Lerner
CinematographyMarcelo Camorino
Edited bySergio Zottola
Distributed byBuena Vista International
Release date
  • August 31, 2000 (2000-08-31) (Argentina)
Running time
114 minutes
Box office$12,413,888[2]

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.



The main character of the film is trying to remember the tune of a Rita Pavone song throughout the film. The song, "Il Ballo Del Mattone", plays as the end credits run.


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).

Critical receptionEdit

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."[4] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 80/100 based on 30 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[5]

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."[6] 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."[7] 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."[8] 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."[9]

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."[4] BBC film critic Tom Dawson called the film "a welcome addition to the genre" and a "taut thriller a powerful allegorical resonance."[10]




  1. ^ Presented as a metaphor of Argentina, "Nine Queens" is released in New York Diario Clarín, 10-04-2002 (in Spanish)
  2. ^ Nine Queens Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ Nueve reinas on IMDb.
  4. ^ a b "Nine Queens (Nueve reinas) (2001)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  5. ^ "Nine Queens". Metacritic. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (May 10, 2002). "Nine Queens movie review & film summary (2002)". Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Wilmington, Michael (May 10, 2002). "'Nine Queens' an ingenious thriller". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  8. ^ Moore, Roger (July 12, 2002). "For grifters, it's all a game". Orlando Sentinel. Orlando, Florida. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  9. ^ Guthmann, Edward (April 26, 2000). "Film Clips / Also opening today: 'Nine Queens'". SFGate. Retrieved March 10, 2007.
  10. ^ Dawson, Tom (July 2, 2002). "Nine Queens (Nueve Reinas) (2002)". BBC. Archived from the original on December 21, 2019. Retrieved July 11, 2020.

External linksEdit