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Monday, May 12, 2003


Written by Doug Jung
Directed by James Foley
Reviewed by Mil Peliculas

Some movies are just cool. And some movies constantly have to tell you they are trying to be cool. And, while not completely blowing it, Confidence falls into the second category.

Confidence is one of those “Con” movies where all the street-smart guys know all the angles and are way smarter than everyone else. Ed Burns plays Jake Vig, a young con artist who fortuitously gets involved with a larger but still small-time hoodlum named “The King,” played by Dustin Hoffman. Jake has inadvertently stolen money from the King and aims to pay it back by helping him to pull a con on a bigger fish named Morgan Price, played by Robert Forster. Andy Garcia makes an appearance as a Federal Agent on Jake’s trail, and it also features Donal Logue and Luis Guzman (a.k.a “the ugliest man in the world”) as two corrupt LAPD Detectives. Don’t believe me about Luis Guzman? Check out The Count of Monty Cristo and tell me that guy ain’t scary as hell. I’d take Robert Davi over that guy any day. And let’s not forget, one of the most painfully sexy women in film today, Rachel Weisz, who doesn’t have much to do other than look cute and play the “femme fatale”, but she does have some moments to shine.

It’s no doubt due to James Foley’s seasoned guidance that this movie does not derail itself into something unwatchable. The fairly complicated plot is handled well for the most part, but it may be Ed Burns, who is a capable actor in my book, but he's trying SO DAMNED HARD to be super cool, that just makes it kind of NOT cool. Can we talk about cool movies for a moment? Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs are cool movies. Sunset Boulevard is a cool movie, Seven Samurai is a cool movie, Out of the Past is a cool movie. Cool movies, like cool people, cannot sit there and tell you how cool they are and still be cool. Part of being cool is just not caring if your cool or not. That’s what Confidence has a problem with, it keeps winking at you as if to say, “This movie’s cool, ain’t it."

Like I said, the plot is dense, and well-managed, but anyone who’s seen his share of “con” movies…The Sting, The Grifters, House of Games, The Spanish Prisoner—or any of the good heist movies—you know what to expect. Hmm, whatever is supposed to be in that box, probably ain’t in that box.. Or that guy who just got shot probably is not really dead, that kind of thing. There are lots of twists, but I was one step ahead of them generally, not two or three steps, just one. I’m not the sort of viewer who tries to figure things out ahead of time. But I think there was only one obvious twist that I didn’t see coming, and it wasn’t all that big. As for dialog, it doesn’t go over the top with the grifter shop-talk like Mamet’s Heist did, just enough to get the idea that these guys know their stuff. But the dialog is surprisingly uninspired I think. Not many memorable lines. Not that you need that every time out of the box, but when you think James Foley, you think, PUT THE COFFEE DOWN!…COFFEE IS FOR CLOSERS…YOU SEE THIS WATCH? THIS WATCH COSTS MORE THAN YOUR CAR…WHO AM I? I MADE 900 THOUSAND DOLLARS LAST YEAR, THAT’S WHO THE FUCK I AM!

Well, none of that going on in Confidence. But hey, I’ve seen worse.