This movie was based on the criminal exploits of con-man and bank robber Carl Synnerdahl. The character name of Martin Stang (played by John Hargreaves) was based on Synnerdahl but was a fictional character. Synnerdahl was famous for the ruse of pretending to go blind to get off lightly from his prison sentence and get an earlier release. Synnerdahl then continued with this deception whilst serving his gaol term. This deceit forms the basis of this film's high-concept and story. See more »
"Hoodwink" isn't exactly what it's advertised to be. It's supposedly a crime/con man film, but it takes an abrupt 180 degree turn about half the way through and becomes a more straightforward drama. It's hard to say if this works or not. But I can say that both halves are very well acted and directed. Just don't expect to end with the same film you started with. If you do, there's a fair chance you'll be disappointed.
John Hargreaves is a very charismatic actor. As soon as you see him, there's something about the character of Martin Stang that draws you in. He is manipulative, intelligent, and complicated. Much to the point of never quite letting the viewer know who real he's really being. Judy Davis plays what is, for her, a very atypical role. She's very convincing. I suppose what really makes "Hoodwink" such an immediately engaging film is how true it feels. Director Claude Whatham and cinematographer Dean Semler create a very solid world together. It feels real, it captures the subtleties of human interaction without a lot of nonsense getting in the way of things. And that's just too hard to find these days.
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