A film that I would wander by and think, "Hmmm...Dustin Hoffman..." but never really thought about. then, it re-appeared with a slipsleeve/O-ring and suddenly I couldn't resist. Yes, I am a marketing victim, but I think we all knew that. I snagged it because every time I skip on a slipsleeve [the term I've chosen for them, since they're more like sleeves than covers, in my opinion] it disappears, and the case below isn't as good. Sometimes this is simply due to the loss of gloss, the gain of gloss (from matting), the loss of metallic undertones, or, occasionally, that rarest of rare treasures--the DIFFERENT slipsleeve.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid--as recently re-released about two years ago--did this. So did Confidence. Actually, the slipsleeve for Confidence kind of sucks, and isn't as good as the cover below, but I have *both* now.
Anyway, moving on...
There's a very strong cast here--with tons of great character actors sprinkled throughout. Really, the term is becoming difficult to use since we know so many of those actors by name now. But, all the same, this cast includes Rachel Weisz (who I don't believe I've seen before, only know as having been in Constantine--to which I'd say "strike one," but that's really all three strikes in one--and didn't impress me), Robert Forster (who I will always know for Alligator before anything else), Luis Guzmán, Paul Giamatti, Louis Lombardi (known most recently as Edgar on 24), Donal Logue, and of course, Dustin Hoffman.
It's in that subgenre of crime films that is the "con" film. Of course we can always look to things like Ridley Scott's Matchstick Men or The Sting or the last one I saw, Shade and see that...yeah, this has been done. It was most reminiscent of Matchstick Men in a general plot and character sense--kind of funny, as both were released in 2003. But, there was a strong style to it--not that disjointed narratives are anything new, either--and fantastic opening titles. The soundtrack was very ambient electronic stuff, which made a good impression even starting from the menu alone.
Edward Burns was the star, and I'm still trying to think of anything else I've seen him in. I'm sure if I checked IMDb, I'd know, but as it stands, I can't think of a solitary thing. Regardless, he DID impress me, and had a solid character to work with. The plotting was, thankfully, not completely transparent, which is necessary for any con film, but I did see a few odd bits coming. All the same, it fit together perfectly, the style held and didn't feel overbearing, and seeing all of those folk in their bits and pieces roles was great fun. Didn't overrun its welcome and told a solid, well-paced story.
Not an awful lot more to say than that...