So why was this movie ignored during the awards season? Yet again, Jim Carrey is completely snubbed for a leading man nomination. This movie flew right under the radar. It is the directorial debut of John Requa, who was the writer behind “Bad Santa”. Here he directs a script, which he also wrote, based on the real life of Steven Russell.
Russell was a seemingly happy family man who leaves his life behind and moves to Miami, finds a boyfriend and begins to live a very expensive lifestyle. This leads him to become a very successful con man. But his crimes land him in prison where he meets the love of his life, Phillip Morris played by Ewan McGregor.
This leads to a relationship that Russell must bust out of prison many times and commit many, many more crimes to keep going. I was reminded a little bit of “Catch Me If You Can”, the Leonardo DiCaprio movie from 2002.
The performance by Carrey here is nothing short of fearless. You will never look at Jim Carrey the same way again. He vanishes in to this character almost instantly. Russell who becomes so many different personas and identities, eventually forgets who he really is. His focus on Phillip Morris becomes the driving force in his life.
McGregor is also very good here. He plays Morris is also helplessly in love. He is no where near as reckless as Russell, but he certainly lets a lot go on without doing anything about it.
How this movie flew under the radar for so long is beyond me. Major distributors seem to shy away from movies that portray difficult subject matter. For me I saw a movie where two people fall in love, and break many laws trying to keep that love alive. Was it worth it? You would have to ask Steven as he is serving 144 years in prison as we speak.