Jake Vig (Burns) is a consummate grifter about to pull his biggest con yet, one set to avenge his friend's murder. But his last scam backfired, leaving him indebted to a mob boss (Hoffman) and his enforcer.
Jake Vig leads a small Los Angeles based team of grifters, each member who has his specific role in each con: Jake is the main man, Miles the adversary, Big Al the scared innocent bystander, and Gordo the dead shooting victim. He also has in his pockets crooked LAPD detectives Lloyd Whitworth and Omar Manzano who basically play themselves as needed. Beyond getting the money, the basic goal of each con is to ensure the mark is so scared by what has happened - usually being an accomplice in a "murder" - that he won't come back looking for the money. Jake learns the hard way that their latest mark, Louis Dolby, who they fleeced for $150,000, was carrying money for a criminal named King, who takes a no prisoners approach in getting even, he who knows who stole his money. Instead of returning the $150,000 to King, money which he no longer has anyway, Jake convinces King to parlay that money and a bit more into a bigger con against a mark of King's choice, that person being banker Morgan ... Written by
Good Fun! - A Confection of Slight Surprises with Quirky Characters
Dustin Hoffman isn't charming or caring or understanding in "Confidence." Here he's not just evil, he teeters on the brink of uncontrollable madness - but with a dollop of humor that makes his violent nature more interesting (but not appealing). He is a creep!
"Confidence" is the latest in the unending string of films about men and women scam artists always scheming for that truly earthshaking big score. (There must always be an enticing, enigmatic woman for a film of this kind to keep viewers engrossed, e.g., "The Thomas Crown Affair".) And the crooks usually have soft spots in their hearts and a propensity to make silly - even deadly - errors. And at least one member of the group, usually the leader, has to look good in a well-tailored suit.
That's the situation here as Edward Burns plays the honcho of a small band of swindlers who really seem to have bonded together. They trust each other - but no one else. But, of course, they must deal with new "co-workers" whose motivations and alliances are suspect but hardly clear. And we also have a pair of the LAPD's Not Finest adding a humorous dimension not often found in tough rogue cops on the take.
And then there's Rachel Weisz - I've been a fan of her acting since "About a Boy" and "Enemy at the Gates." Certainly she's an emerging star and it's her acting ability plus her beauty that's taking her to leading roles. An English actress, she joins Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman - Down Under natives - in flawlessly speaking like a Yank (or a SOCAL denizen, not quite the same thing).
Don't look for a true mystery here. This isn't David Mamet's "The Spanish Prisoner." But it is a four-star show by a fine ensemble cast.
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