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Confidence (2003)

R 98 minutes

Directed by James Foley
Written by Doug Jung

 · Edward Burns (I)
 · Rachel Weisz
 · Andy Garcia
 · Dustin Hoffman

Review by Thom Stricklin

With summer fast approaching--or already here, if you consider X2's monumental opening weekend--there are a lot of good, quiet films that are going to pass under the radar, lost in the shadows of over-the-top action epics, cute Pixar kid's movies, and the like. One such example from the shadows: Confidence.




Confidence is not unlike your normal heist movie... There are plenty of twists, surprises, double-takes and tricks up the sleeves. What sets this film apart from others, such as The Score or even Ocean's Eleven, is that, unlike those films which rely on one or two key twists, Confidence weaves a web of many small tricks that culminate beautifully in the end. There aren't many loose ends in the plot, either... at least, not many left untied. Thus, the writers are pretty successful at creating a start-to-finish scenario that, while perhaps implausable at times, is fully acceptable.

The perfect compliment to the solid writing is the film's stylish, cool visuals. James Foley and his crew make liberal use of color in lighting and set design, which give the film an artsy, European quality to the film. The editing, particularly a heavy use of wipes and whip cuts, is a simple but effective way to keep the pace going. (And hey, it's just fresh to see something other than fades, dissolves, and cuts to move a film between scenes.)




You'll know in the first five minutes what the most enjoyable part of Confidence is: the cast. Edward Burns has such an intriguing quality--I can't place it exactly, perhaps some sort of "smart tough-guy" charisma--and it's in full force here. So is Paul Giamatti, who's been cracking up audiences with his sarcastic knack since The Negotiator, but hasn't been given enough screen time to do justice until this film. Andy Garcia and Dustin Hoffman don't have nearly as much screen time, but that doesn't stop either from contributing just the right chemistry to the cast. Rachel Weisz and Franky G. feel a little unnatural in their roles, but again, not enough to lose the camradarie.

The story itself will drag you in fairly effectively, though it has its limits. If you aren't good at following movies with twists, you might feel left behind. On the other hand, if you go into such a film hoping to be blown away with surprises, you might be disappointed. Still, Confidence should agree with most audiences. It takes many of the turns you'll be expecting, but still does so in a way that makes you go, "A-ha!"



With a huge summer upon us, Confidence isn't required viewing in theatres. However, you should definitely give it a chance when it's released to DVD.

"A good chess player can see up to 20 moves deep," says Ed Burns' character Jake Vig. If you're a Bobby Fisher when it comes to plot twists, you may be able to call this film in its first fifteen minutes. Even still, you should be able to recognize it as a well-crafted, strategic film... and enjoy the game.

506 Words Published: 8 May 2003

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