Ed Burns and Rachel Wiesz star in Director James Foley’s visually dynamic Confidence. A movie about grifts and cons this is yet one more entry into the film noir crime genre.
Directors: James Foley
Producers: Scott Bernstein
Writers: Doug Jung
Features: Three Commentary Tracks (Director, Writer, Cast), Anatomy of a scene, deleted scenes, soundtrack presentation, trailers
Jake Vig - Edward Burns
Lily - Rachel Weisz
Gordo - Paul Giamatti
Whitworth - Donal Logue
Manzano - Luis Guzman
King - Dustin Hoffman
Gunther - Andy Garcia
Director James Foley’s Confidence is an unoriginal, slick, visually dynamic, comical film noir piece. Probably under different circumstances and under a different director I would have the perfect recipe to berate this movie. But because the movie is executed skillfully and because the DVD offers a healthy amount of extras I’ll give it a chance.
Beginning with our protagonist/narrator Jake Vig (Burns) shot and motionless on the ground the story unfolds as a series of flashbacks. Vig and his cronies run a small time scam and unload a hundred and fifty thousand dollars from a doofus accountant. Unbeknownst to them is that the money is actually the property of crime boss Winston King (played with Pacino-esque wackiness by Hoffman), who puts a hit out on one of Vig’s partners. After finding his partner dead he knows that to run and leave town is futile and also having vendetta on his mind Vig offers a truce and his services to King to pay him back. Once it’s agreed King offers up a con that requires Vig and crew to steal from savvy corrupt banker Morgan Price (Forester). As the plan begins to unfold Vig and crew must now have to deal with a Federal Agent, corrupt cops, and double crosses right and left.
The story is definitely laid out as an homage to other noir pieces and hits all the right marks. It has the femme fatale Lily played by Rachel Weisz. She knows how to pickpockets, wear sexy tight fitting clothing, use a gun, and is quick with her mouth. Weisz nails the part to the wall and left me asking for more. Vig, played by Burns, is a smooth talking, suite wearing, hair-never-out-of-place griffter always looking to play a better angle. Never really being a Burn’s fan, I gotta say he pulled off the part well. I hope he uses this opportunity to stop directing mess leaden movies and maybe pick up a few more parts for himself. Andy Garcia’s Gunther is an odd twist. Playing the scroungy Federal Agent, Garcia loosens up his gut and left me scratching my head (Well, at least I know what he would look like if he fell of the wagon and became a street vagrant). Being cast against-type is Dustin Hoffman as King. I guess never one to shy away from any part Hoffman gives probably he’s goofiest performance to date (his Captain Hook performance is a close second). Fortunately, although an important character, King has the bare minimum in dialogue and is left to strut around like an old man who’s lost his car keys.
The special additions are the true gem of the DVD. Included are three separate commentary tracks (director, writer, cast), Sundance Channel Anatomy of a scene, deleted scenes, soundtrack presentation, and trailers for this film and three others. Not to bad.
Director James Foley’s commentary is full of explanations on casting, locations, script development, etc. He offers a very distinct eye on the directing process and how some of his editing choices and style were incorporated into the movie. I liked it and could definitely recommend this track to anyone who found the movie interesting and/or moderately good. Writer/Screenwriter Doug Jung offers up his own commentary track but I found it to be a little bit on the boring side. Like I said this is a story that has been told a few hundred times so to hear him babble on about his influences and filmic ideas gets old fast. I guess this can be a good track for those aspiring screenwriters. The last commentary track actually had the most in terms of perspective on the film. Included on this track are Ed Burns, Rachel Weisz, Dustin Hoffman, and Andy Garcia. Both Burns and Weisz recorded their track together while Hoffman’s and Garcia’s are separate from each other. Also, Hoffman’s and Garcia’s track don’t actually start, and are cut, when their respective scenes are playing. Both Burns and Weisz have a playful funny repartee that makes for a good listen, while Hoffman and Garcia give their introspection on how they work and developed their characters. This is definitely a recommended track.
Bottom line: Foley takes a rehashed recycled story and gives it some flair and style with an eclectic cast. Definitely a rental, I don’t think I could recommend as a purchase though (but the commentary’s do make it rather appealing).