The ice may be thin, but the plot couldn't get any thicker. A dissolute insurance salesman (Greg Kinnear) plots to steal a rare violin from the clueless old putz (Alan Arkin) who's using it as a chew toy for his dog; foolishly, the salesman involves a volatile ex-con who services the old guy's home security system (Billy Crudup), and their bungled burglary culminates in murder. Screenwriters Jill and Karen Sprecher are known for their smart, character-driven dramas (Clockwatchers, Thirteen Conversations About One Thing), and their inexperience with thrillers is evident here in the cluttered exposition at the beginning and wholesale revelations at the end. In the middle, though, there's a pretty suspenseful stretch as the two unlikely conspirators struggle to conceal their crime; the movie's biggest asset is Crudup, funny and frightening as the flaky ex-con. Also known as The Convincer. Jill Sprecher directed; with Bob Balaban.
Director: Jill Sprecher
Producer: Mary Frances Budig, Elizabeth Redleaf and Christine Walker
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin, Billy Crudup, David Harbour, Bob Balaban, Lea Thompson, Michelle Arthur, James Detmar, Michelle Hutchison, Alan Johnson, Michael Levin and Peter Moore