DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Awards & Recommendations at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main

John Patton Ford
Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Bernardo Badillo
John Patton Ford

Down on her luck and saddled with debt, Emily gets involved in a credit card scam that pulls her into the criminal underworld of Los Angeles, ultimately leading to deadly consequences.
Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 97 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 11/29/2022

• None


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BDT220P Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Emily the Criminal [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 26, 2023)

Best known for dark, dry comedic characters, Aubrey Plaza goes more dramatic with 2022’s Emily the Criminal. In this flick, she plays Emily Benetto, a young woman in problematic financial straits.

Trapped with student debt that she can’t shake, Emily can’t land a good job due to a felony conviction in her past. When a co-worker suggests that she work as a “dummy shopper”, she leaps at the chance.

This leads Emily to meet Youcef (Theo Rossi), one of the gig’s ringleaders, and she soon learns that this all acts as a form of consumer fraud. Though initially appalled, Emily’s desperation prompts her to embrace the situation and send her down an increasingly dangerous path.

As noted at the start, much of Plaza’s work leans toward comedy. Along the way, she perfected a cold, borderline cruel – but still funny – “Aubrey Plaza Character”.

Emily doesn’t force Plaza to abandon her MO entirely, as we can see parts of her standard approach here. However, she definitely goes for a more serious take.

Can Plaza pull off a straight role without strong comedic overtones? Definitely, as Plaza becomes arguably the movie’s biggest positive.

Emily offers a challenging role because – as the title implies – she acts as a criminal. The film uses this status in a semi-ironic way, as it doesn’t depict Emily as a “criminal” in the standard sense, but nonetheless, she does break laws.

Indeed, that acts as the reason Emily finds herself in her current predicament. With a felony in her past, she finds it impossible to get work that pays well enough to dig out of her debt.

This leads to some of the film’s social commentary, as Criminal shows that prior misdeeds can make it tough for citizens to avoid subsequent crimes. With plenty of talent as a designer, Emily tries desperately to move ahead in that field, but when society repeatedly slaps her down, she feels she enjoys no options other than a life of continued crime.

Though this and other themes act as an undercurrent, they don’t turn Criminal into a pedantic lecture. Instead, the film mainly acts as a thriller in which we see the ramifications of Emily’s actions.

Not that anyone should expect slambang action, but Criminal does embrace the suspense related to Emily’s pursuits. The deeper she digs, the more danger she encounters, so we view the risks that come along for the ride.

As such, Criminal never becomes an especially deep tale despite its social elements. Much of the movie sticks with the tension connected to Emily’s crimes, so we find ourselves wrapped up in those moments.

Despite a character not granted a ton of dimensionality, Plaza brings life to Emily. She never begs the audience to like her – or even really sympathize with her – and she also lends Emily an edge that makes us suspect she actually prefers life on the wrong side of the law.

At a taut 97 minutes, Criminal gets in and out without much fat. It brings a brisk mix of thriller and character piece.

The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus F

Emily the Criminal appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a pretty solid presentation.

For the most part, sharpness worked fine. Some mild instances of softness materialized – mainly in wider shots – but the majority of the flick boasted fairly positive delineation.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws also failed to pop up along the way.

Colors leaned toward a teal orientation, with some of the usual amber as well. Though uninspired, the disc replicated the hues as needed.

Blacks felt reasonably deep and dense, while shadows looked smooth and clear. Nothing here dazzled, but the image worked fine.

Similar thoughts greeted the movie’s adequate DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. It matched about what I expected for a character-based tale like Criminal.

The soundscape tended to stay low-key, with an emphasis on ambience. Scenes on streets or in clubs/restaurants added some engagement, and a few more “action-oriented” elements brought some impact. None of this created an especially compelling soundfield, though.

Audio quality satisfied, with speech that remained natural and concise. Music showed appealing range and warmth.

Though they lacked a lot to do, effects appeared accurate and clear. This became a perfectly appropriate soundtrack for a story of this sort.

No extras appear here. Heck, the disc doesn’t even include a chapter search menu!

After a career largely built around comedy, Aubrey Plaza opts for more dramatic fare via Emily the Criminal. She does well in this milieu and helps make the movie a satisfying combination of thriller and character drama. The Blu-ray comes with generally good picture and audio but it lacks bonus materials. This winds up as a compelling tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 2
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main