Emily the Criminal

Director: John Patton Ford
Origin: USA (2022)
Language: English

Aubrey Plaza gives a career-best performance as a woman with nothing to lose in this gripping thriller about the late-capitalist lines some are willing to cross in search of the American Dream.

Saddled with a $70,000 student-loan debt she’s unable to make a dint in with her crappy catering job, Emily is desperate to make ends meet. Unfortunately, a past misdemeanour hampers her attempts at finding a better job. At her wit’s end, she accepts a tip from a colleague that leads her down a lucrative but illegal and increasingly dangerous path – a path she discovers she’s good at navigating, so long as it doesn’t destroy her.

Garnering some early comparisons to Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive (MIFF 2011) and the Safdie brothers, John Patton Ford’s satisfyingly taut debut simmers with frustration and rage. Plaza electrifies the screen in the lead role, going to even darker places than her audacious turn in Black Bear (MIFF 2020) to once again prove that her dramatic chops rival her comedic ones. She shares a palpable chemistry with co-star Theo Rossi playing an underworld boss – plus a fist-pumping scene with Gina Gershon that you’ll be quoting for days – and as Emily the character walks a dwindling moral line to who knows where, Emily the Criminal walks a vanishingly thin line between nail-biting genre film and something much more grittily realistic.

“As the eponymous antihero at the heart of John Patton Ford’s slick and smart feature debut, Plaza continues her ascension to formidable leading lady.” – IndieWire

Please note: MIFF’s full program will launch on Tuesday 12 July. Tickets will be available to MIFF Members from Tuesday 12 July and to the general public from Friday 15 July.

If you require any access service, such as wheelchair/step-free access, for any MIFF session, please email boxoffice@miff.com.au to book your ticket.

Key Cast
Aubrey Plaza, Gina Gershon, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Theo Rossi
John Patton Ford
Aubrey Plaza, Drew Sykes, Tyler Davidson
John Patton Ford
Jeff Bierman
Nathan Halpern
Harrison Atkins
Costume Designer
Amanda Wing Yee Lee
Production Designer
Liz Toonkel
Premiere Status
Victorian Premiere