A Film Review By The Mike

Rating:RATED R for Language and Violence
Starring: Edward Burns, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz, Andy Garcia
Directed By:James Foley

Final Grade:

While watching Confidence, I was overwhelmed by the feeling I’d seen this before. Every line, every motion, and every trick had been pulled on me before. Whether it was Heist, The Score, or any other con artist flick, I knew what was going to happen or what was happening at all times. I also enjoyed every second of it. One might say I was the one being conned, that such a rehash of previously filmed material should not be so enjoyable. That may be right, but I’ll take it any day.

The film opens with a shot of our main character, Jake Vig (Burns) laying on the ground drenched in blood. In a voice over we hear his first line, a line I’m sure our webmaster might use at some point: “So I’m dead, and I think it’s all because of this redhead.” We are then taken back three weeks and introduced to Jake and his team, which consists of a prankster (Paul Giamatti from Man on the Moon and Private Parts), a young stud (Brian Van Holt) and Big Al, who never plays “the inside.” We find them in the midst of a heist from a weasely businessman (The ever annoying Leland Orser), and coming away with 150,000 dollars.

Unfortunately, the money was on its way to The King (Dustin Hoffman), a seedy gangster who never forgets any injustice. He meets with Jake, after killing off Big Al and the weasel, and explains that since Jake can’t give him the money back he must instead pull a bigger job for him and rip off a multi-millionaire banker (Robert Forster).

That’s the set up, and, of course, it doesn’t go down that way. Twists and turns come and go, and the addition of a fiery pickpocket named Lily (Weisz) to the team doesn’t do much to uncomplicate things. Jake’s scheme to get to the money is both simple and insane, and it’s clear that it’s not the best plan that could arise. Add to the mix two dirty cops (Donal Logue of Blade and Luis Guzman) and one fed who’s itching to catch Jake (Garcia), and this is definitely the toughest con Jake’s ever faced.

If you’ve made it this far into this review and know anything about movies you’ll realize that this film is amazingly cast. I expected this much going in to the film, but wasn’t sure if Burns could pull off the tough guy role. I was surprised to an extent I could not believe, Burns’ Jake oozed with every aspect of cool, calm, and chilled blood that any con man in a film like this should have. It’s one of the best performances I’ve seen this year. Hoffman is priceless as a total scumbag, and Garcia chews up every minute of screen time he gets. The acting alone is well worth the price of admission.

James Foley’s direction is also undeniably cool. The movement from present to flashback to voice over narration is quick and shifty, with scenes sideswiping past each other often. The script is clever and wordy, and though it is similar to any other con artist script it seems fresh and original.

Confidence is not original, predictable as gravity, and doesn’t give us a single character that we should genuinely care about. But it’s also extremely slick and captivatingly entertaining, keeping me on the edge of my seat until the projector broke down with two minutes left. Luckily I could hear the ending, and was able to piece the puzzle together easily. The result looked like this: Go see this movie, you’ll be entertained and won’t want to miss a second.

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