Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
Confidence (2003)
15 Contains frequent strong language and moderate violence

A decade after the testosterone-fuelled Glengarry Glen Ross, director James Foley gets macho-minded once again for this story of scamsters on the make. But while Confidence is packed with all the ballsy bombast of Glengarry, it lacks the heart-stopping tension.

Part of the problem is that Doug Jung's script ploughs well-trodden territory - the setup acutely reminiscent of Newman/Redford caper pic The Sting.

Ed Burns is Jake Vig, a stylish confidence man but strictly small-time - that is until he rips off an accountant (Leland Orser) working for mob boss Winston King (Dustin Hoffman).

The sexually ambiguous King makes his displeasure known and, with his back against the wall (note the homophobic undertone), Vig offers to cut him in on the most ambitious con of his career. King accepts, assigning his own henchman (Franky G) to assist.

As well as the usual cohorts (Paul Giamatti, Brian Van Holt), Vig recruits femme fatalish petty thief Lily (a miscast Rachel Weisz) - who could pick his pocket any day...

But in a world where everyone's working an angle, the real challenge is keeping one jump ahead of the game.

Actually, this doesn't prove to be much of a challenge at all. The major power plays are evident as early as the opening scene, becoming more obvious with each new twist.

Fortunately the energetic interaction between players keeps boredom at bay. The banter is generally amusing, and a subplot involving Andy Garcia as a slovenly FBI agent investigating a couple of dirty cops (Donal Logue, Luis Guzman) makes for an entertaining sideshow.

Edward Burns is suitably smug - so no big stretch. But it's Dustin Hoffman who gives the standout performance, achieving new slippery heights of sliminess.

Foley adds grit with grainy visuals and crash-bang editing, yet stylistic flourishes don't make up for the deficit of suspense. Foley's moves are smooth, only he never makes good with the pay off.

End Credits

Director: James Foley

Writer: Doug Jung

Stars: Edward Burns, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz, Andy Garcia, Paul Giamatti, Donal Logue, Luis Guzmán, Brian Van Holt, Franky G, Morris Chestnut

Genre: Crime, Thriller

Length: 97 minutes

Cinema: 22 August 2003

Country: USA

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