January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Jake Vig (Edward Burns) is an experienced grifter, a con man who has pulled off countless scams and cons with ease. He always seems to be able to spot a mark and with the help of his skilled crew, he nails his con each time. But his latest scam seems to have run into trouble, as his choice in targets was poor with this project. Vig and his crew managed to take a large sum of cash from a man named Lionel, who seemed to be a simple mark. As it turns out, Lionel was a simple mark and Vig’s con worked to perfection, but little did he know that Lionel was employed by someone with extensive connections. Lionel’s boss was Winston King (Dustin Hoffman), an offbeat crime lord who hates people who put ripples in his waters. Vig is forced to come up with a plan to repay King’s lost income, as his other option isn’t too tempting. Either he fulfills an impossible scam and nets the needed funds, or King will have him knocked off. If anyone can pull off this scheme, its Vig and his crack team of coworkers, but even then, it won’t be that easy to manage. The scam is a complex one, a task sure to garner a lot of attention from both the police and other criminals. In other words, about as dangerous as a scam can become. Can Vig and his squad of eccentric buddies nail the mark one more time, or will he wind up facing Vig’s special brand of payback?

This movie tries to put a fresh spin on a well worn premise, but does Confidence manage to stand out from the crowd? In terms of substance, the answer is no, but in terms of style and entertainment, Confidence does succeed. You’ve seen all this stuff before and you’ve seen it done better, but its all well packaged and executed here. As such, you won’t mind the rehashed portions and the added perks will simply spice up the experience. The pace is so brisk, you never have time to think about how this all sounds so familiar, whereas a slower pace might have given the audience a little too much time to think. So don’t expect to have your brain stressed here, but as far as fun capers, Confidence is up to the challenge. If nothing else, the cast is worth the price of admission, as this movie boasts an impressive troupe. Dustin Hoffman nabs the most attention, but Edward Burns, Paul Giamatti, Luis Guzman, Andy Garcia, Donal Logue, and Rachel Weisz also have substantial roles, not to mention several other well knowns in supporting positions. In the end, Confidence has a great cast, a nice visual presence, a brisk pace, and some effective humor, all of which allows it to overcome the burden of being a not so original motion picture. Lions Gate’s disc offers a solid treatment also, so Confidence is more than recommended.

I always like to see Dustin Hoffman in roles other than nice guys, as he plays the kind fellow all too often. Now don’t get me wrong, he’s great in those roles and can often work magic from within them, but its good to see the other side of the coin as well. So I looked forward to Confidence for that main reason, as the previews lined up Hoffman as the main bad dude. As it happens, Hoffman is a crooked man in this picture, but then again, so is everyone else in Confidence, so didn’t pan out just as I had anticipated. In a movie loaded with cons, he plays one of the meaner ones to be sure, but I would have liked a more traditional evil guy kind of performance. Instead, the tone of the movie demands a more over the top, sometimes even campish effort. That makes for a memorable character and some humor injected into the scenes, but lessens the bad guy angle and that’s a let down, as Hoffman could have shined here. Other films with Hoffman include Rain Man, Straw Dogs, Marathon Man, Wag the Dog, The Graduate, and Midnight Cowboy. The cast also includes Edward Burns (She’s the One, Fifteen Minutes), Rachel Weisz (The Mummy Returns, Beautiful Creatures), and Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Eleven, Jennifer 8).

Video: How does it look?

Confidence is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. A superb visual effort from here from Lions Gate, a studio that continues to improve with time. This is a new release, so the print is in very clean condition, with no serious marks to mention. A nick or two can be seen, but that’s about all the defects you’ll notice here. The image is quite sharp also, with a high detail level throughout and no signs of unwanted softness. I found the colors to be bold and vivid, with no evidence of errors, while contrast is stark and smooth at all times. All in all, a terrific overall presentation and one that should please all viewers, even ones with critical eyes.

Audio: How does it sound?

This is a dialogue driven caper picture after all, so the included Dolby Digital 5.1 track isn’t that explosive, but it does sound good enough. The surrounds are used in some scenes for impact reasons, but most of the time the music is the sole resident, although that is by no means a bad notion. The mix comes off as very natural and that’s important, as hollow sounding mixes with unneeded surround presence can be disastrous. The vocals come through clean and crisp at all times, with no problems in the least to discuss. This disc also includes English and Spanish subtitles, should you need those.

Supplements: What are the extras?

A total of three commentary tracks can be found here, one with stars Edward Burns & Rachel Weisz, another with writer Doug Jung, and the final session with director James Foley. The actors’ track is the most fun of the three, with plenty of brisk comments, but the other two tracks have more substantial production information. So no matter what your taste is, one of these three is bound to suit your desired commentary needs. This disc also includes an Anatomy of a Scene featurette, some deleted scenes, a soundtrack presentation with two music videos, and the film’s trailer.

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