In writing up Emily the Criminal as one of his favorites from Sundance 2022, Vince Mancini described the plot of John Patton Ford’s tense feature debut as a “student-loan debt-saddled Uncut Gems.” The trailer looks excellent, showcasing star Aubrey Plaza‘s dark intensity. The quiet, obsessive powder keg of rage she’s displayed in Ingrid Goes West and Black Bear are on full view here, solidifying her even further as a black comic indie star.
Plaza plays Emily, a former art student weighed down by loan debt and trapped in a series of crappy jobs because of a criminal record. Out of desperation and a quarter life crisis, she gets in on a credit card scam, but her initial amuse bouche of outlaw life drags her into an all-you-can-eat Los Angeles underworld where bad people and people forced to do bad things fight over their cut.
The movie also stars Megalyn Echikunwoke (aka Megalyn E.K.), Theo Rossi (Sons of Anarchy), and Gina Gershon (no stranger to taut crime thrillers herself).
Emily the Criminal was a major breakout at Sundance, boasting a bit of hyper-topical social commentary in a gritty heist flick. It hits theaters August 12th, which is also hopefully the day people stop being surprised at how good Plaza can be.