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Confidence (2003)
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Review Date: April 17, 2003
Director: James Foley
Writer: Doug Jung
Producers: Michael Burns, Marc Butan
Actors:
Edward Burns
Rachel Weisz
Dustin Hoffman
Plot:
A small-time conman gets into a heap of trouble when the money that he swindled off some dupe turns out to be property of one nasty son-of-a-gun veteran conman named The King. Luckily for him, the old-timer sees some potential in the brassy, young lad and offers him the opportunity to "repay" his debt by cutting him in on the next big con job. Lots of "cons" ensues...
Critique:
For any "con movie" to fully succeed, in my opinion, it needs to combine all of the following elements to a tee: it has to make sense, it has to be gripping, it has to be believable, it has to surprise and it has to involve characters that you ultimately end up giving half a shit about. In the case of all the "classics", all of these elements are there...and then some! In the case of CONFIDENCE, everything is also in place, along with a nice pace, a good length, screen charisma, a hootload of style and even a tad of romance...but in the end, the results feel somewhat...familiar. Despite that, I really enjoyed this movie from start to finish, mostly because of its fun cast and intriguing set-ups. I also appreciated all of its characters, many of which were actually somewhat developed. Yes, the movie features a bunch of characters all working with/or against one another at some point or another, but credit goes to director Foley (the same man who was able to lasso all that talent in David Mamet's GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS) for never making it all too self-serving, too predictable, too confusing or too boring (which would likely be the worst crime of all). From scene one upwards, I was hooked and it wasn't only because l'il Eddie Burns was all "growns up" in the film, dropping most of the raspiness from his raspy voice and looking absolutely divine in suits. I actually liked the camaraderie of the gang in question as well, which reminded me a little of OCEAN'S 11, but without the jumbo-sized star names. Paul Giamatti, for example, has always been great in supporting roles and he's that very same solid here as well. Brian Van Holt is also fun as the "dimmer" of the bunch, but never to the point of being ridiculous. Louis Lombardi is also great as Lupus, especially his surprising scene at the dinner table. Nice!

Rachel Weisz is the token "chick" in this man's movie, but seeing as she's damn cute and passed off a decent American accent (and a decent ass), she did alright (although I'm not sure if I bought the romance angle). The two "bumbling cops" were also fun to watch on the side, and who else to cast as one of them but Luis Guzman himself. Great man! Which leads me to the two veterans in the cast, Andy Garcia, who actually managed to involve himself into his character a little more than just wearing a suit and looking "smarmy" this time around and Dustin Hoffman, who was quite great in his small role...but what's with the limited amount of screen-time? That's right, two major scenes and that's about it for this man. He does, however, fare much better than Robert Forster, who barely has a friggin' line in the movie! Other than that, it's all about the con, the score, the grift and as far as "con movies" go, this was a decent one, but definitely not one to settle next to Keyser Soze or even my rum and coke. I guess that also has something to do with the number of "con movies" that one would have seen in their lifetime, since the more you've seen, the better the chances that you will be spotting the "cons" a mile away. Overall though, the film is fun, engaging and includes plenty of quotable dialogue and sweet camera shots but doesn't particularly provide for anything earth-shattering or original. Because of that last point, I can't score the film any higher than I do, but I would certainly recommend it whole-heartedly to any fan of the genre, as well as anyone looking for a quick fix of slick characters, good actors having fun, a cool plotline and surprising turns. Also, even though the tagline of the film seems to rip off a famous Mamet quote from HEIST, I still think it's one hell of a doozy: "It's not about the money...it's about the money." Great point! PS: Any flick that ends on a Coldplay tune has got to be the money.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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10:31AM on 12/30/2005
There have been so many of these con artist movies that every time I see one now, I'm just trying to figure out what the suprise twist at the end is. I was close on this one, but no cigar.

The main thing that makes this such a good flick is the acting. Ed Burns is cool, Rachel Weisz is hot as the 'femme fatal,' Dustin Hoffman is creepy, cool, and funny as the gangster, and Paul Giamatti is the best part of the movie. He adds humor and a little angst. These guys and the rest of the cast,
There have been so many of these con artist movies that every time I see one now, I'm just trying to figure out what the suprise twist at the end is. I was close on this one, but no cigar.

The main thing that makes this such a good flick is the acting. Ed Burns is cool, Rachel Weisz is hot as the 'femme fatal,' Dustin Hoffman is creepy, cool, and funny as the gangster, and Paul Giamatti is the best part of the movie. He adds humor and a little angst. These guys and the rest of the cast, mostly no-names but recognizable faces, make the movie a very fun flick to watch. It's the large cast that makes you wonder who's in on it and who isn't.

I didn't think the con they were pulling seemed all that difficult. The opening sequence bit seemed more complicated than what they were planning for the main plot. The tricky part, again, was the finale. But I enjoyed the whole setup, execution of the story, and how it all played out in the end. These con movies seem to be popping up more and more with Matchstick Men, Ocean's Eleven and it's eventual sequel already out there; so this is obviously not original. But, since I didn't figure out what was eventually happened in the end, I enjoyed the movie. Plus, just waiting to see what happens to see if you're right is decent enough for me.
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