In today's heist movie, the norm is a bewildering amount of double crossing, betrayals, and surprise. Anything else would just be dull. Heist, The Good Thief, and countless others detail elaborate schemes where a tiny miscalculation causes a ripple effect that potentially ruins everything. Every smart crook knows to take every possibility, however infinitesimal, into account. And the success of the movie depends not on the plot twists, but on how stylish everything goes. Confidence is a slick, convoluted example of how to do a heist film, where it is confusing as heck during the film, but everything wraps up perfectly in the end. Because there are so many films like this, its unpredictability is predictable. There are certain events that the viewer knows will happen, and certain people that look like they are betraying others but actually are not (or vice versa).
Jake Vig (Edward Burns, Life of Something Like It, Sidewalks of New York) leads his own crew that creates an elaborate set up, steals lots of money, then skips town. Unfortunately this time, the target is King (Dustin Hoffman, Moonlight Mile, The Messenger), a huge figure in the Los Angeles underworld. Needless to say, King is not happy to be a victim. Vig is slick enough to convince King to go in on him for his next con, where he will steal enough money to pay King back and net both of them a profit. King agrees, and Vig begins planning to bilk businessman Morgan Price (Robert Forster, Like Mike, Human Nature). As insurance, King sends Lupus (Franky G., Manito) to join Vig, Gordo (Paul Giamatti, Big Fat Liar, Planet of the Apes), and Miles (Brian Van Holt, Basic, Windtalkers). Because one of their crew died in the initial scam on King, Vig hires Lily (Rachel Weisz, About a Boy, The Mummy Returns). Lily, like Lupus, are wildcards. They are new members in a tight, well-oiled machine.
Doug Jung's script begins with Vig's death. Gee, what will happen here? The majority of the film is a flashback, with Travis (Morris Chestnut, Half Past Dead, Like Mike) interrogating Vig at gunpoint. In probably the most annoying aspect of Confidence, director James Foley (The Corruptor, Fear) has Burns speak in first person about the elements of a successful heist. It's a good thing that this happens less frequently as the story begins moving on autopilot. Arrogance is probably a better title, because Burn's Vig can at times, be an ass. He knows exactly what he is doing, and wants everybody else to know this. Burns is not a great actor, but Vig plays into all his strengths. It seems so easy for him to come off as a jerk. It's not a great role for Weisz, who is a strong actor but is nothing more than window dressing here.
To further complicate matters, Gunther Butan (Andy Garcia, The Man From Elysian Fields, Ocean's Eleven), a federal agent, is in town looking for Vig. He is applying pressure on Whitworth (Donal Logue, The Patriot, The Opportunists) and Manzano (Luis Guzman, Anger Management, The Adventures of Pluto Nash), two corrupt cops who work for Vig. The script tends to be a little too talky at times, pretending to be a more clever than it actually is, but it still retains a playful quality as people begin backstabbing each other in earnest for a bigger share of the money. This is most evident in Hoffman's King, a hyperactive child of a man, who cannot seem to concentrate on one thing for more than a couple minutes. It's immensely fun watching Hoffman act like he's on too much Prozac, because no one knows if he will tell a joke or lash out violently at someone when he approaches them. Confidence needs less Burns and more Hoffman.
|Haro Rates It: Not Bad.|
|1 hour, 38 minutes, Rated R for language, violence, and sexuality/nudity.|
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