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Film / Confidence

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So I'm dead...
Jake (except he isn't)

Confidence is a crime thriller directed by James Foley and starring Edward Burns, Rachel Weisz, Andy García, Paul Giamatti, and Dustin Hoffman.

Jake Vig is a Con Man who, at the beginning of the movie, has pulled off a successful con with his crew on Lionel Dolby, an accountant. Unfortunately, Dolby happens to work for King, a mobster, and King, not happy that he lost money this way, has Dolby killed, along with Al, one of Jake's men. To make it up to King, Jake proposes he pull another con on a mark King chooses, and they divide up the money. However, there are a couple of problems. One, King chooses Morgan Price, a banker who's also involved with the mob, to be the mark. Secondly, Jake is being pursued by Special Agent Gunther Butan, an old adversary of his.

This film contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Harlin, who serves as The Dragon to King, is this way, being polite to everyone he deals with.
  • Ambiguously Bi: King comes on to both Jake and Lily, though whether he's attracted to both men and women, or he's just trying to intimidate them, or a combination of the two, is the part that's ambiguous.
  • Anachronic Order: The movie starts out with Jake telling his story to Travis, who serves as The Dragon to Morgan Price, and we see that story played out in Flashback.
  • And Starring: Dustin Hoffman gets billed this way.
  • Big Eater: Whitworth.
    Whitworth: (at a diner) I'm gonna go light. I'm getting the chicken and rib combo.
    Manzano: That's light?
    Whitworth: I'm not getting the coleslaw.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Travis kills Lupus near the end.
  • Brick Joke: When Jake attempts to bribe Gunther Butan, he says to him, "Maybe you can get a new tie with that''. When Gunther drives up to Jake after the con has been successfully pulled, Jake teases him about the fact he's still wearing the same tie, and Gunther says it still works for him.
    • When Jake and his crew are with Leon in a bar, they tell him a story about their "former" boss looking for Gordo and finding him in a public bathroom. When King sends Harlin to the airport to get the money from Gordo, Harlin finds Gordo in the airport bathroom.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": When Jake and his crew, pretending to be part of a tech company looking for a corporate loan, tell Leon (who works for Morgan Price, the mark) about shithead bosses they've worked for, and ask Leon what it's like to work for Morgan, asking if he's a bad boss. Leon starts to deny it, but then laughs and admits that yes, Morgan is a shithead boss.
  • The Chessmaster: Jake compares a con to a game of chess, and says in a good con, you have to be nine moves ahead. Turns out he is.
  • Detective Mole: Special Agent Gunther Butan turns out to be this for Jake.
  • Dirty Cops: Lloyd Whitworth and Omar Manzano are two LAPD detectives who work for Jake by pretending to bust him to scare off the mark so Jake can take the money, and then they take a cut. Turns out Gunther Butan is this as well.
  • Faking the Dead: Gordo does this at the beginning with Jake's con of Dolby. Jake does this as well when Lily "shoots" him in front of Travis.
  • Foreshadowing: When Travis is interrogating Jake, and brings up Gunther Bhutan, Jake snaps, "Bhutan is just as crooked as the next guy." Jake would know, as he's the one paying Gunther off to be a Dirty Cop.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: King certainly seems to think so when he hires two "sisters" to do a stripper act together, though he insists the women do it "tastefully", as there are families there.
  • Insistent Terminology: When Jake snarks that Miles should go back to his strippers, Miles replies, "They call themselves dancers."
  • It's a Long Story: What Lily says to Leon when he asks her what's wrong. Turns out it's her way to hook Leon into The Con.
  • It's Personal: Jake is pulling a con on King for having Al killed.
  • It's What I Do: When Lily asks Jake why he's a Con Man, she thinks there's some deeper motivation, but Jake claims it's just because he's good at it.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Jake fixes things so Morgan gets conned out of his money, as does King, King gets arrested with drugs on him, and Whitworth and Manzano gets busted for being dirty.
  • Once More, with Clarity: When Jake is telling how he first met Gunther, we see him attempt to bribe Gunther, and this supposedly explains why Gunther is hell-bent on catching him. The second time we see the scene, we learn Gunther was quite happy to take Jake's bribe, and is working for him as a Detective Mole.
  • Percussive Pickpocket: Lily meets Jake this way, which turns out to be a Meet Cute. He smiles when he realizes later what happened.
  • Start to Corpse: Subverted in that Jake isn't really dead.
  • Suspiciously Idle Officers: Two members of Con Man Jake Vig's gang are actual members of the LAPD, whose role it is to bust in on the scene of the con and force the victim to leave in such a rush that he abandons his money. Eventually, it is revealed that Gunther Bhutan, the federal agent who has seemingly come to town to bust Jake, is actually on his payroll, too. One wonders how he justified the trip to his supervisors.
  • Title Drop:
    Whitworth: (after Jake gives him his cut) You guys got a lot of sack, I'll take you that.
    Jake: It's confidence. Just confidence.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Jake's plan involves a lot of elements that don't get talked about.