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Overall Rating
3.25

Awesome: 15.28%
Worth A Look27.78%
Average: 26.39%
Pretty Bad27.78%
Total Crap: 2.78%

6 reviews, 36 user ratings


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Confidence
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by Scott Weinberg

"Makes up for in confidence what it lacks in originality."
4 stars

I often say that a movie needn't be the pinnacle of originality for it to be fun time. Sure, I often say it late at night alone in my bedroom - so you'll just have to take my word for it. Seemingly inspired by such popular flicks as Pulp Fiction, The Sting and anything presented by the word processor of David Mamet, Confidence is indeed packed to the gills with moments you've probably seen before...yet still the flick entertains in its own right. And wait till you see this CAST!

As any devoted film freak can probably attest, the exploits of cinematic con men can often make for some intriguing screenplays. The life of a con artist is logically full of double-crosses, duplicity, and outright bullshit - the sort of stuff that usually translates into film quite successfully. (An adept filmmaker can often dupe his audience much like his characters dupe their own onscreen victims.)

House of Games, Traveller, The Grifters - all films that succeed through crafty filmmaking and the sinfully enjoyable antics of the world's craftiest con-men. Now, James Foley's Confidence may not fully belong in those storied ranks but it's certainly brisk and entertaining enough to earn your box office bucks.

Jake Vig is a slick and rather self-impressed grifter. He and his loyal crew make a decent living by staying on the move between their elaborate confidence schemes. Things go understandably South when Jake and Co. swindle a suitcase full of cash from a timid accountant - one unfortunately under the employ the dangerous and ambitiously named King.

When Jake approaces King to make amends it begins an uneasy alliance between sleazy club-owner and desperately frustrated con artist. Under King's direction, Jake and his pals are compelled to pull of one massive bear of a con job.

Needless to say, even the craftiest cinematic swindles inevitably go awry...

Scoring most effectively from its astonishingly eclectic cast, Confidence crackles with rapid-fire (if somewhat familiar) dialogue and a series of predictably unpredictable plot twists before ending with a crowd-pleasingly devious note. Simply put, this is a fun little crime drama (with humor) that may not bowl you over in any way - but it's a tough little flick to actively dislike.

No stranger to massive ensemble pieces (he directed the immortal Glengarry Glen Ross), Foley's film is overloaded with criminally cool actors and the reliable director gives just about all of 'em something interesting to do.

Ed Burns leads the show in full-on Affleck-lookalike mode, creating a cocky and smug character that the audience can't help but admire. Not sure if this work will usher Burns into Matinee Idol territory, but the guy anchors the flick remarkably well.

Rachel Wiesz is in no danger of needing an Oscar Acceptance Speech any time soon (Sorry Rachel! I still love ya!), and this 'smoldering femme (potentially) fatale' role certainly doesn't bring out the actress' best moments - yet she's certainly beautiful enough to keep your eyes interested in what her mouth has to say.

Dustin Hoffman enjoys an extended cameo playing against type as a weaselly and perverted old crime crony. While it's quite a lot of fun to see Hoffman playing a lecherous weenie, one never realy gets the impression they're seeing an actual 'villain'. More like "Dustin Hoffman mean and screaming" yet that's fairly entertaining in and of itself.

About a dozen other likeable pros fill out the supporting roles, most notably Luis Guzman and Donal Logue as two affably crooked cops; the always-awesome Paul Giamatti as Burns' devoted partner in crime; Andy Garcia as a humorously rumpled government agent; and Robert Forster as the con-men's coolly devious quarry.

Yet if the casting director earns a 5-star rating, it's Doug Jang's intermittently spotty screenplay that drags the flick down just a bit. Confidence employs all three of the "lazy screenwriting techniques":

1. Massive over-reliance on constant voice-over narration.

2. Extensive affinity for 'storytelling by flashback'.

3. Telegraphed plot twists. Heck, everyone onscreen is a con man...so you just know the most recent scam is never the last one.

Call it a testament to the fantastic cast and/or Foley's seasoned touch behind the camera, but Confidence succeeds despite the several nitpicky complaints I've cataloged. Like a classic joke re-told by an especially energetic new comedian, Confidence is proof positive that a film need not be unique to be worthwhile.

Despite a handful of clear missteps and familiarities, Confidence is still a film I can easily recommend. The con man genre could always use a worthwhile new entry and this one's certainly entertaining enough to warrant a visit.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=6808&reviewer=128
originally posted: 04/04/03 14:41:52
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/14/11 PAUL SHORTT UNSATISFYING THRILLER DESPITE A GOOD CAST 2 stars
12/25/09 art YOU"D HAVE TO BE A CROOK,TO LIKE THIS MESS! 1 stars
6/16/09 Monday Morning I love caper films - this wasn't the best but IS worth watching. VERY stylish! 4 stars
5/16/07 Bitchflaps Too self-consciously slick for its own good, screenplay contrivances are obvious too. 2 stars
2/21/05 Agent Sands Not the 1st to conquer its premise or characters but it's sure great anyway. Badass finale! 5 stars
10/02/04 monica it's okay for a con artist movie 3 stars
8/06/04 Mark D Only Weisz is strong in this movie 3 stars
5/19/04 FrankB perhaps too stylish, but Hoffman is great 3 stars
2/01/04 Ingo Entertaining popcorn flick with flaws. 3 stars
1/03/04 Faith Only Rachel Weisz delivers a great performance in this bad film 2 stars
10/26/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng A wicked SCAM movie. James Foley is the MAN! 4 stars
8/21/03 Kim Not even the great performance of Rachel Weisz could save this film. 2 stars
7/24/03 Ben Rutherford Excellent, Fun, Great Cast 5 stars
7/22/03 Mr Mayer Other than the good perrformace of Rachel Weisz, the movie is not really worth it. 2 stars
6/26/03 Arlene Titshaw I did like OCEAN'S 11 pretty well, Wolf, but NOT this one. 2 stars
6/17/03 Ed Only Rachel Weisz and Dustin Hoffman come out on top in a con that's not worth it. 3 stars
6/05/03 Erik Van Sant This overlooked crime caper is the coolest flick around. 5 stars
5/11/03 Steve Ellis Out of the good cast, Only Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz do well with what is givin. 3 stars
5/10/03 Wolf The "love scene" should have been left out, but if you liked Ocean's11 you'll like this one 4 stars
5/09/03 joey rome roll with it 4 stars
5/05/03 John Fine but flawed crime movie taken up a notch by a stand out performance by Rachel Weisz 4 stars
5/04/03 Edler Was basically a combo of all the previous grifter/con-man movies of the past 10 years 3 stars
5/02/03 Charlie Udon Good, Not Great. Agree with the majority, Rachel Weisz and Dustin Hoffman stole the show. 3 stars
5/02/03 Nancy Niedzielski I think Weisz was one of the best things in the movie, and she was awful. 'Nuff said? 3 stars
4/30/03 Jack Sommersby An American masterpiece that confirms James Foley as our greatest director. 5 stars
4/30/03 Ross Good caper with Rachel Weisz as the highlight of the whole film 3 stars
4/29/03 Andrew Carden Hoffman & Weisz Give Superb Performances In This Limp, Contrived Action Flick. 3 stars
4/28/03 Kelly I Loved it.... especially Ed Burns, he makes the movie !!!!!!! 5 stars
4/27/03 mike Entertaining, good, funny. The F-word gets used a bit much though. 4 stars
4/26/03 asfdfds fsaddsfafds 1 stars
4/21/03 Paige Top Notch Cast with scene stealing Dustin and Rachel as the highlights of the movie. 4 stars
4/15/03 Dead Ringers FX Rule! The actors and filmmaking were nice. Pretty weak story. Good twist on undeveloped story. 2 stars
4/07/03 Ben Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Weisz Steal The show is this well crafted film. 4 stars
4/05/03 Frank Thomas Sorry, But Rachel Weisz Was the best thing in this so so movie. 2 stars
4/05/03 Jeff Smith Ok, Not great 3 stars
1/23/03 Sean Typical hiest movie that adds nothing to the genre 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  25-Apr-2003 (R)
  DVD: 20-Jul-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  24-Jul-2003


Directed by
  James Foley

Written by
  Doug Jung

Cast
  Edward Burns
  Rachel Weisz
  Dustin Hoffman
  Andy Garcia
  Paul Giamatti
  Luis Guzmán



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