Copyright 1999-2003 3BlackChicks Enterprises™. All Rights Reserved.

Cass' review of


Confidence (2003)
Rated R; running time 98 minutes
Genre: Crime/Drama/Thriller
Written by: Doug Jung
Directed by: James Foley
Cast: Edward Burns, Paul Giamatti, Brian Van Holt, Andy Garcia, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz, Morris Chestnut, Donal Logue, Luis Guzman, Franky G., Robert Forster, Louis Lombardi, Leland Orser

Review Copyright Cassandra Henry, 2003

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"In any con, sooner or later somebody's gonna start asking questions." - Jake Vig

CASS' CLIP (WARNING: **spoilers below**)
Confidence begins at the end, then sets up the - how they got there - sequence by explaining the three weeks leading up to end. Ya got that? No. Well, here goes.

Jake Vig (Edward Burns) has a bullet in him and blood pouring out of him. His supposed outer body self explains the circumstances in a voiceover, "So I'm dead." If you rewind to just moments before that, Jake has a gun to his head, which Travis (Morris Chestnut) is holding, while demanding that Jake tell him the whereabouts of 'the money'. To find out who Jake and Travis are, and understand the significance of 'the money', let's rewind to three weeks earlier to when Jake is bullet-free.

Jake is a cunning grifter who exploits the weak, called a "mark," for his own capital gain. [Pretty much how the government does us]. He explains that a big con job is like "putting on a play where everybody knows their part." If everyone plays their part convincingly, the mark will never report the incident to the police because he was also involved in the con. Jake's fellow grifters are: Miles (Brian Van Holt), Gordo (Paul Giamatti), Big Al (Louis Lombardi) and two of LAPD's finest corrupt cops, officers Manazano (Luis Guzman) and Whitworth (Donal Logue). They swindle their latest mark, Lionel Dolby (Leland Orser), out of $150,000. Sounds like a well-executed con job, right? Wrong. That $150,000 didn't really belong to Lionel, but to his boss, The King (Dustin Hoffman). But Jake and his crew didn't discover this little bit of information until Lionel and Big Al end up dead.

The King is an entrepreneur, an owner of an adult nightclub, and a mobster with Attention Deficit Disorder, which [ADDs] up to a predicament Jake and his boyz know the final outcome of if they don't think fast. Since there is no place on earth safe for them hide and stay alive, Jake opts to confront The King to discuss the possibility of working out their differences and smoothing out this little misunderstanding. At first, The King is amused that Jake has the guts to even show his face, but he quickly demonstrates to Jake how he doesn't take too kindly to being ripped off. But Jake, gifted liar that he is, devises another con to cover the debt he owes to The King, while at the same time, making both of them $5 million in pocket change. The new mark, Morgan Price (Robert Forster), is a money-laundering banker for the mob. To keep an eye on Jake, The King orders that one of his associates, Lupus (Franky G), tag along with Jake and his partners to follow the money trail and look after his investment.

Oh, I almost forgot to include the proverbial romantic subplot, which she is used to lure a naive man into the con or she's the love interest. Lily (Rachel Weisz) is both - a pickpocket expert and Jake's new love toy. Jake and his cohorts set up an elaborate con game wherein they scheme to get financing for a phony corporation and wire funds back and forth between offshore accounts. To make matters worse, FBI agent, Gunter Butan (Andy Garcia) shows up on the scene. It seems as though agent Butan is always chasing Jake but Jake somehow manages to be one step ahead of him.

When "you can't fool bad luck," as Jake explains, and another con job goes wrong, Jake ends up with a gun to his head, which Morgan Price's goon, Travis, is holding. Confused? Well, what happens next, only Jake can explain.

DA 411
Confidence is another caper flick with lots of intricate double-crossing twists. Unlike The Good Thief, Confidence is more enjoyable because it didn't attempt to confuse the audience with unnecessary subplots. Instead, James Foley does a nice job directing this movie, while at the same time, hustling the audience with just enough of an entertaining story to make us the mark. This movie slowly draws you in with its quick-witted characters and the clever pacing of the many plots. Dialogue, such as "Yeah, I'm pissed too, but not 25 to life pissed," adds to the likeability factor of this movie.

No one actor necessarily stands out in terms of wowing me with his or her acting skills. However, the entire ensemble looks like they were having fun making this movie. Therefore, that translates into moviegoers not being conned out of paying the price for a movie ticket, with the writer, director and actors all making their mark.

Confidence is a high stakes chess game with just enough intrigue to keep the con jobs entertaining.


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Copyright Cassandra Henry, 2003

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More 3BlackChicks™ review(s) for this week:
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Cass' reviews:

Bams' reviews:
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The Diva's reviews:
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