Things I Do for Money ★★★½

While a film worth seeing for the very talented cello playing by its leads Theodor and Maximilian Aoki, Things I Do for Money is probably as cliche a crime film as they come. The worst offender is the very stereotypical Russian antagonist Alexi Raduli, though it’s also highly inconceivable Eli Yaguchi’s figure-skating crush Laura happens to be the granddaughter of one of Hamilton’s biggest crime bosses, who regularly meets with other elderly gangsters in the local bingo hall.

One of the aims of Things I Do for Money is that it was an opportunity for director Warren P. Sonoda to explore his Japanese-Canadian heritage on film, though I don’t think that the film goes far enough in that regard, save for a number of moments contrasting the central brotherly relationship between Eli and Nick Yaguchi with the most estranged relationship between their father Tosh and his Vancouver hitman brother Jimmy. In fact, I would almost argue that Things I do for Money might have ultimately been a better movie if it focused more on the brotherly relationship and didn’t bother to shoehorn the story into a crime film.

Ultimately, I will conclude that Things I Do for Money is a film with some excellent cello playing, accompanied by a very lackluster crime film.