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Kajillionaires (12)

Weird is exceedingly wonderful in artist and film-maker Miranda July’s off-kilter comedy drama about a family of small-time crooks, who operate on the frayed fringes of present-day Los Angeles.

Imagining Ocean’s Eleven with a trio of emotionally stunted, thrift shop charlatans, Kajillionaire dissects the toxic ties that bind a grown-up daughter to her parents as they steal mail and falsify identities to make ends meet.

The light-fingered characters reek of dysfunction and July’s beautifully calibrated script sketches their foibles in precise, delicate strokes, compelling us to pity the low-rent chancers as we marvel at their gall and ingenuity.

Evan Rachel Wood is virtually unrecognisable as the youngest member of the troupe, concealed awkwardly behind a cascade of hair that offers scant protection from the stinging barbs of her on-screen father and mother, played with idiosyncratic gusto by Richard Jenkins and Debra Winger.

The cons appear immaterial to the plot – or perhaps that is skilful sleight of hand on July’s part as she laces rich character development with deliciously dark humour to lay bare the tawdry desires of her morally reprehensible creatures.

Rating: Four stars

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