starring Ricardo Darín, Gastón Pauls, Graciela Tenembaum, María Mercedes Villagra
written and directed by Fabián Bielinsky
by Walter Chaw What may be the best David Mamet film since House of Games, Argentine director Fabián Bielinsky's debut Nine Queens is a mannered, serpentine caper thriller that places its trust in the able hands of a troika of talented performers. Baby-faced Juan (Gastón Pauls), ferocious Valeria (Leticia Brédice), and twitchy Marcos (the gifted Ricardo Darín) find themselves involved in a plot to sell a sheet of counterfeit stamps (the titular "Nine Queens") to Spanish collector Gandalfo (Ignasi Abadal), himself on the lam for some sort of fraud. Delightfully ludicrous and self-contained in the way of The Sting, the picture is a Rube Goldberg/Spanish Prisoner device translated into small-time cons and sin-stained grifters as they grind and smash into each other like sharks in the green noir bucket of Buenos Aires.