April 2003

Reviewed by Wilson Morales

Distributor: Lions Gate Films
Director: James Foley
Producers: Marc Butan, Michael Paseornek, Michael Burns, & Michael Ohoven
Screenwriter: Doug Jung
Cast: Ed Burns, Rachel Weisz, Andy Garcia, Dustin Hoffman, Morris Chestnut, Luis Guzman, Franky G, Brian Van Holt, Donal Logue, and Paul Giamatti


There’s something oft-putting about seeing film trailers during a commercial run on TV. Most of them tell you the premise of the story and in a number of sequences, how it will play out. While it’s important to get the attention of the audience and entice them to see the film, this marketing strategy can sometimes backfire. Who wants to see something that’s predictable? Well, Director James Foley has taken the heist genre to a new level with his latest film, CONFIDENCE, a slick film that with twists and turns that will leave you enthusiastic at the end.

Confidence is a film set in contemporary Los Angeles . It’s about a gang of con men, led by Jake Vig (Burns) who’s always preying on the weak and getting rich with the help of his crew (Giammati, Van Holt) and Big Al. When Big Al gets killed, Jake learns his dirty deed was the root of his death. Seems that crime boss Winston King (Hoffman) was a victim of Jake’s scams and has threatened his life. Knowing how Mr. King likes to keep his word, Jake offers a quick solution. He will pull off the biggest scam of his life by robbing a bank through the computer via internet. Confident about his skills, Jake enlist a pickpocketer named Lily (Weisz), whose used as bait in the plot to lure the mark, the banker they will bring down. Meanwhile, Jake’s “Inspector Javert”, as in FBI agent Gunther Butan (Garcia) comes to LA knowing Jake’s in town and scheming for another score. He blackmails some cops on the take to bring him news of Jake’s whereabouts. Not only does Jake has to contend with Mr. King and Gunther, someone else comes in the picture. Morgan Price, King’s double dealing partner, wants in the action. It’s a very twist and turn con movie with a surprise ending

If you have seen “The Heist”, “Ocean’s Eleven” or even “The Good Thief”, which is currently in theaters, you should have a pretty good idea as how things will work out. With “Confidence”, the results are the same but the execution is different. Ed Burns is appealing as the cocky man with the plan although at times he seems insipid. Dustin Hoffman, in probably his smallest role to date, is playing the opposite of what we are used to seeing him play, and he’s very frightening in his performance. Foley has added flair to the scenery with quick edits and lots of face shots. Andy Garcia, with an unshaven look, is relentlessly funny as he tells stories of his relationship to Jake while pursuing him. The rest of the cast play their part with amusement, specifically Frankie G, the novice amongst the actors. “Confidence” is a film with a talented cast and a story that’s twisted yet engaging.