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CONFIDENCE

A con artist tries to chisel the accountant of a notably cruel, colorfully perverse crime lord.

CAST: Edward Burns, Dustin Hoffman, Andy Garcia, Rachel Weisz, Paul Giamatti, Morris Chestnut, Luiz Guzman, Donal Logue, Robert Forster, Robert Loggia, Elysia Skye, Franky G., Brian Van Holt, Tom "Tiny"Lister Jr.

DIRECTOR: James Foley

"The problems with ‘Confidence’ are summed up by Mr. Burns's performance, which is difficult to distinguish from any of his other performances, except that his hair is shorter. The conviction of his own infinite charm and intelligence is apparently so strong that he need never manifest the slightest vulnerability, doubt or complicated emotion — anything, in other words, that might be called acting. He is so glib and lazy as to make Ben Affleck look like the young Dustin Hoffman. As for the older Mr. Hoffman, he seems to be angling for a place in the middle-aged hambone pantheon along with Christopher Walken and Al Pacino. His antic, gum-chewing turn is pure throwaway shtick, but it shows up Mr. Burns, who in their scenes together stands around flat-footed, basking in his own cocky cuteness, which he, and the movie, persist in mistaking for style." --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"Just like ‘The Sting,’ ‘Confidence’ is a seductive game in an artificial reality where high stakes battle low morals for a middle ground. There are no good guys here, only lovable rogues and eccentric villains, plus a few innocent bystanders to act as suckers and pawns
…Without reminding you of real life in any way, "Confidence" zips along on its own internal logic…Burns, a Ben Affleck with attitude, is perfectly cast as the cocky Jake, and offers a nice stone-faced counterpart to Hoffman's comically affected King…as pulp entertainment, ‘Confidence’ is great fun and Foley's first good movie since the very different ‘Glengarry Glen Ross.’" --Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News

"Given that the industry that is Hollywood has raised the con to an art form, it's predictable that movie executives can't stay away from tales of scams so super complicated a computer would have trouble sorting things out…Confidence’ is more fake and less convincing than its own con, a breath of stale air that likes to pretend hard guys always have a witty answer to every question and fatal bullets to the head leave tiny bloodless holes." Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times

 

"Jaunty, cocky, smug, clever -- bodacious, even -- this con-man drama with Edward Burns and a loathsomely smarmy Dustin Hoffman cuts quite a swath for most of its running time. It's like David Mamet on growth hormones…It's also Burns's best film since ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ and the first one in a long while where he's able to conjure up pure charisma instead of the treacly sensitivity of his recent outings. As for Hoffman, never have you wanted to strangle him more: What a greasy manipulator, what a feral, calculating predator, what an oozing miasma of threatened violence bubbling beneath that sleazy surface…The key here is the dialogue, provided by Doug Jung: It's fast, profane, funny, astringent and evocative." --Stephen Hunter, The Washington Post

"‘Confidence’ is ‘The Sting’ with bad posture and questionable hygiene. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Filmed in a washed-out bluish tint to enhance its drugstore paperback aura, this latest down-and-dirty thriller by director James Foley ably deploys its second-hand caper elements without caring whether you've seen it all before…Burns is a pleasant surprise as a sharpie who's in over his head after he and his gang of grifters scam the wrong guy…bullying and flirting with Burns, Hoffman serves up a thick slice of spiced ham, with just enough gristle to make you wonder if, maybe, he's overdoing it just a tad. No matter. He's clearly having fun…there are many times throughout ‘Confidence’ when you wonder whether flashy dialogue, nasty behavior and low cunning are enough to justify its existence." --Gene Seymour, Newsday

"Am I the only one who can’t figure out the cons in all these perfect-con movies we’ve been getting lately?…By the end of the film, everybody has been triple-and quadruple-and even quintuple-crossed… Lucidity isn’t everything in a thriller—if it was, ‘The Big Sleep’ would be one of the worst films ever made instead of one of the most entertaining. But the new con-game movie cycle is, in itself, a con—on the audience…surely there is something wrong with a movie that is supposed to make you go ‘Wow!’ yet instead provokes a great big ‘Huh?’" --Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

"Beware movies that open with lengthy voice-over narration. Particularly if they star the ever-more-annoying Ed Burns, whose character in the clichéd caper thriller ‘Confidence’ is tediously explaining why his body is lying in a pool of blood…The one thing that's new here is a hilariously weird Hoffman, whose role is much smaller than the ads would have you suspect -- but who brings the movie to life for his 10 minutes or so of screen time…This passes for a breath of fresh air in the stale ‘Confidence,’ which features all too much footage of the scowling Burns, who has a narrower range than almost any actor working in Hollywood these days." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"James Foley does a skillful job directing ‘Confidence,’ but mostly he succeeds in turning a sow's ear into a pigskin wallet…even as trick movies go, ‘Confidence’ feels surfacey to a fault…What keeps the movie watchable is the smear of personality that Foley and the actors bring to each scene. Burns finally shows he can hold a leading-man position. Giamatti has an odd, saturnine warmth, Weisz a seductive combination of sass and insecurity. Andy Garcia has a grand time playing a seedy special agent, and Hoffman gives an enjoyably over-scaled comic performance as a boss who uses omnisexual awareness to keep male and female underlings off-kilter." --Michael Sragow, The Baltimore Sun

"Dustin Hoffman plays the sleaziest and most evil mob boss ever; Luis Guzmán shows that he can play razor-sharp smart as a crooked cop…But in the end, ‘Confidence’ rises or falls on the persuasiveness of Mr. Burns in a role more suitable for John Cusack. Mr. Burns projects much of the insolence of Mr. Cusack, but little of the saving vulnerability. That there is little chemistry between Mr. Burns and Ms. Weisz is unfortunate, but not fatal for an entertainment as painlessly fast-paced as this exercise in articulate frivolity." --Andrew Sarris, The New York Observer