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Starring Edward Burns, Rachel Wiesz, Andy Garcia and Dustin Hoffman; Paul Giamatti
Screenplay by Doug Jung
Directed by James Foley

IN SHORT: Buy popcorn. [Rated R for language, violence and sexuality/nudity. 98 minutes]

Certain movies, and in this particular case James Foley's Confidence, are like Chinese food. They're certainly enjoyable enough but, an hour later, all the details have vanished in memory's haze. Confidence, a noir type film which mixes murder with elaborate con artist schemes, isn't extraordinarily unusual in that aspect. It was perfectly enjoyable to plant for and the performances were all fine but, as far as its told-in-flashback-by-a-narrator format goes, it's all old hat. In fact, at least for us, the plentitude of flashbacks eventually gets in the way of telling the story. By the time it reaches the point where everything comes together, we had lost interest.

Jake Vig (Edward Burns) well dressed grifter, bossman of a crew of grifters who make the mistake of running a scam on who they thought was a low level accountant. Their mistake is that the $150 grand they nab is the daily collection of payoffs from street level criminal activities to crime boss Winston "The King" King (Dustin Hoffman). To get even, Jake is to do one really big score as the King's lackey, and engineer a rip-off of a banker named Morgan Price. As insurance, Jake must add King's man, Lupus (Franky G) to his team, whose plan is to deposit and cash a bogus $5 millions cheque wired from one of Gillette's banks to an offshore account in Belize. As part of his plan, he convinces a sleek pickpocket named Lily (Rachel Weisz) who, uh, picked his pocket, to sign on.

It's important to note that the story is told in flashback because Jake has got a gun at his head. We think it was a character called Travis (Morris Chestnut) who is not a cop -- we'll get to them in a minute -- but a security man for the bank. We think. Between running the story backwards and introducing more than a few supporting goons (in addition to Jake's core gang of Gordo (Paul Giamatti) Miles (Brian Van Holt) there is a pair of corrupt cops, Lloyd Whitworth (Donal Logue) and Omar Manzano (Luis Guzman) who are called into service as needed). The final member of our merry cast is Federal Special Agent Gunther Butan (Andy Garcia) who's had been out to bust Jake since a run in years earlier in Miami. He wears a piece o' crap necktie as a reminder of how bad he wants to bust Jake down.

Director James Foley fills the screen with lots of MCU and CU shots, all off center, as if to put the stamp of the "not made with TV in mind" independent film making school of design on his final product. It wouldn't be worth mentioning except for the fact that his overuse of the shots called attention to itself, which also means (his) story was not grabbing our attention by the short hairs. It's a perfectly OK story, replete with the by-now standard twists at story's end. The less exposure you've had to noir, the better your movie going experience will be.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Confidence, he would have paid . . .


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