Confidence (3)

 Copyright © 2003 by Tony Medley


  Burdened by meager performances by Dustin Hoffman and Andy Garcia, this caper film sinks like a rock in its convoluted, smarter-than-the-audience style.  The idea is that you never know whatís going on but that Jake Vig (Ed Burns) does, even though the film starts out with him on his knees with a gun pointed at the back of his head.

 This seems to be the year for filmmakers who want to keep their audience befuddled and in the dark.  From the trailer that leads you to believe that Hoffman and Garcia are the stars of the film when in reality each has only a small part, this is a dishonest film throughout. Ed Burns and his crew unsuspectingly steal money from crime boss Hoffman, who has one of them killed in retaliation.  Burns then offers to make it up to him by running a grift for Hoffmanís benefit.  Astonishingly told in flashback, Confidence is unsubtly trying to fool its audience.  To its discredit itís so pseudo-byzantine and hard to follow that it succeeds in spades.  Telling a caper film in flashback just doesnít work.  How many times can you see someone shot with a plastic bag of red dye inside to look like blood and be surprised that he isnít really, really dead?  Eventually, you get the picture.

 Itís astonishing that Hoffman and Garcia would opt in to this deficient film.  Garcia is a hot leading man and Hoffman (who was a contemporary of mine at John Burroughs Junior High School, about my most enjoyable year in school, but, then, thatís another story) has a distinguished career to think of.  What were they thinking?

 Maybe they were thinking of The Sting.  Alas, The Sting, this is not.  For one thing, it lacks the talent of Director George Roy Hill.  For another, it lacks the talents of Redford and Newman.  For another, it lacks a coherent script.  For another, it lacks humor.  For yet another, it lacks intelligence.  But I ramble.

 April 25, 2003

 The End