When a nasty man tells you, “Don’t look in the bag,” just don’t look in the bag, damn it.
The Bag Man, a David Grovic film from 2014 (also titled Motel and The Carrier) gives John Cusack another turn as a really, really bad guy that we inexplicably find ourselves rooting for, just like we did in The Grifters, Gross Pointe Blank and The Ice Harvest. The film’s adapted from a John Russo screenplay with rewrites by the director, and based in part on Marie-Louise von Franz’ The Cat: A Tale Of Feminine Redemption. Joining Cusack are Robert De Niro, Crispin Glover and Rebecca Da Costa.
Cusack plays one of bigshot gangster DeNiro’s hitmen, assigned to pick up a bag and wait for his boss at a rundown rural motel, with very strict instructions not to look in the bag. Seems simple, almost too simple to Cusack, and indeed it is, since things quickly spiral out of control with the arrival of a hooker who’s much more than she appears to be, and an ever growing body count that includes FBI agents, crooked local cops and fellow gangsters.
The film is unrelentingly dark and unsettling, punctuated by sudden (and frequent) bursts of bloody violence. It’d be totally unfair to even hint at what’s in ‘the bag’, only to encourage darkly noir-ish crime film fans to check it out for another good performance from John Cusack, who does weary-and-flawed-but-redeemable better than anyone, and from Rebecca Da Costa, who makes a memorable bad ass, though I haven’t seen much from her since this project.
And remember…don’t look in the bag.