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The Opportunists

It's Christopher Walken -- and he's not the villain!


Ex-con Victor Kelly (Walken) is now an honest man in Queens, making meager money as an auto mechanic and trying to hold together relationships with his daughter (Vera Farmiga) and elderly aunt (Anne Pitoniak). But when a young man named Michael (Peter McDonald) arrives and claims to be a cousin from Ireland, Vic takes him in, not realizing that Michael is here to pull Vic (who is a legend back at the motherland) into one last heist. Desperate to save his failing business and help his family, Vic agrees.


It's a given that Walken can play any villain with his eyes closed, from his recent turn in "Sleepy Hollow" to fighting God in "The Prophecy" films. But as the little-seen "Blast From the Past" and the TV film "Sarah, Plain and Tall" proves, Walken's haunted face works equally well as a softie, and in this case, the victim. His performance is the standout, with strong support from She-Bopper Cyndi Lauper (sporting mono-color hair, to boot), who plays Vic's girlfriend with a softened accent and minus the comedic, over-the-top yawking she did in NBC's "Mad About You."


Irish-born director/writer Myles Connell grew up in Brooklyn and conceived "The Opportunists" during a Sundance Film Makers Lab. He alters the usual "one last heist" idea by removing any Bruckheimer-esque shootouts and car chases, but because the big robbery climax and its aftermath are more realistic (and therefore less exciting), the mood fails to engage.

Bottom Line

This game attempt mostly proves that Walken's still the pro.


Starring Christopher Walken, Peter McDonald, Cyndi Lauper, Donal Logue and Chris Cooper.

Written and directed by Myles Connell. Produced by John S. Lyons and Tim Perell. Released by First Look Pictures.