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Confidence  rating

Review: written 2007

Style over substance

Caper movies have been well served in the 90's and to some extent into the noughties. Movies like Ocean's Eleven, The Grifters, Heist and many others, have raised the bar for the con artist on the silver screen. `Confidence' aims high, and just scrapes over the bar, but without much room to spare.

The plot - well, it would spoil it to tell.. but even if I wanted to it would be difficult, as maze-like as it is. Suffice to say, when a con turns out to have inadvertently trodden on a ganglord's toes (Dustin Hoffman), the con-artist (Ed Burns) agrees to pull a huge job to get the money back and keep everyone happy... but who can anyone trust, and what is as it seems?

Great performances abound - the talent on display here is formidable through to the most minor of characters. However, for the most part these fantastic character actors are being called on to play parts which are by their definition artificial. It all works well for the plot, but the sheer cleverness of the whole thing does pull you out of the experience and constantly remind you that this is not real, just a movie.

Having said that, the script is fine, even if lacking that David Mamet style it so much wants to have. Dustin Hoffman in particular benefits from some juicy lines, chewing the scenery as his menacing though dwarf like ganglord with a predilection for sex of any kind. He looks for all the world like Eddy Jordan on speed, turned to a life of crime and hedonism. Ed Burns is a fine actor, but seems a little out of his depth, and Rachel Weisz plays the sexpot admirably well. In the end we do find a satisfying cleverness to the eventual proceedings - But without an investment in the characters that makes us really care one way or the other who did what to who.

It's a stylish movie, and worth watching, but one could have expected more from the talent involved. Watch it, enjoy, and forget it about 5 minutes later.

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