Confidence (2003)

Mitchell, 3. June 2007, 22:37

Edward Burns, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz, Paul Giamatti

Roger Ebert gave this two stars, saying that it was a well-put-together flick with no heart or soul, that it didn’t make us care enough about the characters to really invest anything in its outcome. While I agree with the explanation, I disagree with the rating, because this IS a very well-put-together flick. It is stylistic as heck, and you cannot help but be fully aware of the director’s decision-making. I guess that can be a bad thing, but in this case, I thought it made the ride fun. Yes, this is one of those movies where you’re never really sure who’s playing it straight and who’s putting you on, which can be frustrating. I didn’t think it was this time.

Paul Giamatti is excellent as usual!


1 Response to “Confidence (2003)”

  1. Reid


    I would mildly recommend this to Don, Marc and Joel. Penny, Larri and Jill would probably would like this, too–at least a little. I could see Chris, John and maybe Tony liking this, if they were in the mood for this type of movie (see next section).

    I don’t think it’s a great film, but it was entertaining.

    I won’t try to describe the film, but I will say that it is one of those con game type of movies. If you like this sort of film, than chances you’ll like this, at least a little.

    I can understand the description of the film having “…no heart or soul, that it didn’t make us care enough about the characters to really invest anything in its outcome,” and I partially agree with that. I’ll go into the reasons as well as other criticisms and comments in the next section.

    This is one of those films that satisfied me for the most part–but identifying the parts that didn’t satisfy me is not easy. Let suggest some of the possible reasons.

    First, there’s Ed Burns–who has all the qualities to be a first-rate leading man–except for the most important one: charisma. That might not be the right word, but there’s a spark or something missing, at least in this performance. He’s likable, intelligent has a good voice, (with the tough Boston accent), but there’s something missing. It almost seems like he’s bored in the role, not fully invested in the character. There’s something flat about the performance.

    Then there’s Dustin Hoffman. He brings nothing to this role–certainly not enough menace that I think this role needed. Whatever Hoffman tries to bring to the role, just doesn’t work, imo. Hoffman and Burns are the two most important characters in the film, imo. If they don’t work, the film doesn’t work. Now, they didn’t completely fail, but they didn’t entirely work either.

    Another factor is that I thought there were several scenes/situations that weren’t quite believable. For example, the first encounter between Jake (Burns) and King (Hoffman) didn’t feel right. Based on Giamatti’s description of King, I was expecting this really scary, intimidating guy. Hoffman comes across as sort of goofy, not really intimidating at all. At the same time, Jake doesn’t really seem to be acting as if he’s really scared of King. Is Jake really that formidable a person that he doesn’t have to worry about King, a kind of mob boss-type who would track down and kill someone across the country for $2,000? The film doesn’t really establish that Jake is that formidable, or it mislead me into thinking that King was more powerful than he was.

    I should say that con films usually depend on an intricate plot where everything has to be right for the plot to work. This can really challenge a viewer’s ability to suspend disbelief. Even little plot points that feel false can add up and damage the movie. I think some of that occurred in this film.

    Furthermore, the plan felt a little too easy–particularly the way they got the money from the bank. (Ocean’s 13 was sort of like that, too.) If crucial parts of the plot occur too easily or without giving the audience a credible way those parts take place, then the film won’t be so satisfying.

    A couple more points about Mitchell’s comments. I agree with him that this deserves more than 2 stars. It was a decent con film. On the other hand, I don’t know if I agree with the statement that the film was put together well. The direction (the transition between scenes, the hip narration and use of flashbacks to tell the story, use of the score, etc.) were very hip in milder version of a Tarantino flick, but it wasn’t always successful either. (I guess partly for the reasons I mentioned above.) I do think there are some good ideas in the film–the general plot and the way the resolution. With better casting and maybe more time in developing the characters and certain plot points, this could have been a much better film.

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