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Confidence (R)
Lions Gate Films
Official Site
Director: James Foley
Producers: Michael Paseornek, Michael Burns, Michael Ohoven
Written by: Doug Jung
Cast: Edward Burns, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz, Andy Garcia, Donal Logue, Paul Giamatti, Luis Guzman, Morris Chestnut

Rating: out of 5

Confidence has all the trappings of a modernized neo noir film: a superstitious male lead, a dame to complicate his life, the standard voice-over narration, a deal, a heist, tons of guns, and of course, well-tailored suits.

Jake Vig (Burns) is the leader of a group of long time grifters. The team currently resides in L.A. and the guys are living large until one of their cons ends badly. Turns out, they just accidentally screwed over The King (Hoffman), a not-to-be-messed-with local businessman/crime boss. To spare all of their lives, Jake cops a deal with The King so that everyone can recoup their losses.

One of The King’s men gets added to Jake’s team, and the recipe for criminal intent is almost complete. Then enter the dame. Stunningly beautiful pickpocket Lily (Weisz), who steals Jake’s heart and wallet, is put into the mix to add a little glamour to the machismo.

The deal Jake and his team have with The King is to scam a cool five mil out of the big honcho banker Morgan Price. The stakes and obstacles are high, but Jake manages to stay ahead of the game. He’s cool, casual, and confident. That is, until he loses all three c’s, and the cards in the deck get shuffled.

Who’s on second? What’s on third? Everyone’s suddenly all over the place in this movie.

Burns and Weisz are great on screen together. Hoffman plays the eccentric crime boss to the T. The rest of the cast is rock steady, including Andy Garcia, who plays a fed on Jake’s trail, and Donal Logue, who plays a L.A. police officer looking to make a few extra bucks to pay for his kids’ braces. Director James Foley (Glengarry Glen Ross) plays the edge card in this film , to good effect. Shaky camera angles and gritty light work well in most scenes.

Confidence excels where modern attempts at neo noir have failed. The love connection isn’t forced, the lead goes lightly on the cheesy jokes, and the direction is varied enough to prevent the usual predictability. The action could have been more fast-paced though. And although the jokes weren’t cheesy, a lot of them did fall flat on the audience, which could be blamed on the editing or the script. Either way, it’s neither the best crime movie out there nor the worst.

Confidence gives you the same feeling you get after going out on a date with an uber-nice person you’re not attracted to—oh that was fun, you’d say, but forgettable and lacking real intrigue.

So if you want noir, sans an egregious amount of bloody murders and cheesy jokes, choose Confidence. And, to compliment the movie, take along a mediocre date as well.

—Sandra M. Ogle.




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