Film-Forward Review: CONFIDENCE

Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video

Edward Burns as Jake

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Directed by: James Foley.
Produced by: Michael Burns & Michael Ohoven.
Written by: Doug Jung.
Director of Photography: Juan Ruiz Anchía.
Edited by: Stuart Levy.
Music by: Christophe Beck.
Released by: Lions Gate.
Country of Origin: USA/Canada. 98 min. Rated: R.
With: Edward Burns, Rachel Weisz, Andy Garcia & Dustin Hoffman.

“Style can get you killed,” warns crime boss King (Hoffman) to the young, good-looking grifter who has stolen his money. As a way of paying King back and avoiding being killed, Jake (Burns) and his crew must pull off a heist from a money-laundering bank. Joining his gang is Lily (played by Weisz, not the most obvious bombshell), who is to lure an inside sap into the plot. Having stolen Jake’s wallet earlier in the film, she also steals his heart. Meanwhile, the gang is watched by cops on the make, who in turn, are being surveyed by a federal agent (a rumpled Garcia). In other words, everyone is working an angle.

Like three-card monte, Confidence is all surface and attitude, swiftly edited to distract the audience from thinking too much about the film’s flaws. The glib dialogue rarely rises above the obvious: a con job is described as a play in which everyone knows their part. Playing a character with ADD, Hoffman maniacally chews the scenery, while Burns coolly relies on his good looks to be the natural leader, leading man, and charming liar. And despite being undeniably clever, Confidence leaves a bad aftertaste. To see if Lily can pull off a con, Jake puts her to the test. Their mark is an older preppy man in a Beverly Hills jewelry store. It is hard to enjoy seeing a gullible, but good natured and generous stranger lose his shirt to a handsome and slick movie star. Kent Turner
May 12, 2003



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