EMILY THE CRIMINAL is the latest in a line of heart-pounding crime thrillers showing the gritty underbelly of American society. If you’d like an idea of the plot and tone, think DRIVE, NIGHTCRAWLER, GOOD TIME, or UNCUT GEMS.

While EMILY THE CRIMINAL may not seem to tread new waters, Aubrey Plaza shines in her role as the eponymous wrongdoer. The films I mentioned, with the addition of BREAKING BAD (and even BETTER CALL SAUL), have a fascinating trend – breaking actors out of a mold. Aubrey Plaza, best known for her character in PARKS AND RECREATION, hasn’t been in many prominent “dramatic” roles. She barely cracks a joke in EMILY THE CRIMINAL. Like Robert Pattinson, Ryan Gosling, Adam Sandler, Bob Odenkirk, and Bryan Cranston before her, Plaza proves how refreshing it is to see actors try something new.

EMILY THE CRIMINAL is short and direct. You don’t know whether to love or hate Emily, but you empathize with her. Since PARKS AND REC and INGRID GOES WEST, I’ve been a fan of Aubrey Plaza, and this is her movie through and through.

EMILY THE CRIMINAL is now playing in theaters.

Tarush Mohanti

Tarush Mohant is a playlist curator and music explorer, the creator of illussongs (illustrations of songs), and has a fitness plan motivated by action movies (running, climbing, swimming, hiking). Tarush is also a Product Manager at HBO Max.

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