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CONFIDENCE

The details of the plot of this swift lark, in which a grifter (Edward Burns) runs afoul of a gangster (Dustin Hoffman) and must pull off an elaborate con to make things right, require no comment other than that neither the plausibility of the scheme nor its ready comprehension by the viewer is high among director James Foley’s priorities. He’s more concerned with keeping the film stocked with swindles, standoffs, repartee, revelations, double-crosses, and generic self-consciousness. Of the freshness of these staples, suffice to say that no one will leave Confidence feeling that he or she has just witnessed any radical innovations in the crime-film genre.

Counting in the movie’s favor are the performances of Hoffman (enjoying himself as the flamboyant kingpin), Rachel Weisz (elevating a token role), Andy Garcia (doing a fair Timothy Carey impression), and Robert Forster (dominating the film in a bit part). Above all, Foley gives Confidence a crisp visual flair that remains watchable even when the plot is just a blur. It may be worth sitting through the film just for the sidewalk-café scenes, in which the blizzard of cars and pedestrians makes it even more impossible than usual to pay attention to what’s being said. (98 minutes).

BY CHRIS FUJIWARA

Issue Date: April 25 - May 1, 2003
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