Naturally, it's not as simple as Vig picking the King out of a crowd. He and his crew unknowingly fleece an important underling, stealing a substantial chunk of the King's money. Before they realize their error, one of their number has a bullet in his head and the rest are ready to cut and run, leaving Vig to do some fast thinking. So he approaches the King directly, offering to pay back the funds by pulling an even bigger scam on the crime lord's hated rival. Unfortunately, the plan requires an additional player, and Vig settles on a pickpocket femme fatale named Lily who may not have the group's best interests at heart. He also neglects to mention the federal marshal on his trail, who could land the entire lot of them in prison.
Like he did in Glengarry Glen Ross, Foley demonstrates considerable skill working with an ensemble, aptly balancing the characters with the needs of the story. As a technical exercise Confidence is well-tuned, and the 98 minute running time feels just about right. The script brims with terrific dialogue, which the cast takes great relish in delivering, and the uniformly excellent performances never become forced or mannered .Dustin Hoffman gives a fresh and original performance that should have landed him at the very least an Oscar nomination. Like the length of the film is just about perfect. It's incredibly fast paced. This one movie that has re-watch-ability written all over it and an excellent flick that should not be missed.
The main plot is by no means brilliant, eschewing extensive character development in favor of energy and trimness, but it is just right for this kind of movie. The characters are likeable people (at least, for a group of cons). Oh, and you've gotta love the ending.
Will Burns end up with Weisz?
Is Garcia really a Fed?
Will they all get away with it in the end?
Who's conning who?
on my list.
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...