Confidence

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Confidence Movie Poster Image
Con man meets the mob. Violent, grown-up tale.
  • R
  • 2003
  • 98 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Just about everyone in the movie is a thief, a murderer, or both.

Violence

Intense peril and violence, guns, characters killed.

Sex

Sexual references and situations.

Language

Very strong language.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking, smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie has extremely strong language and explicit violence, including shooting and the death of major characters. Just about everyone in the movie is a thief, a murderer, or both.

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What's the story?

CONFIDENCE is about Jake Vig (Edward Burns), a first-rate con man who makes one big mistake. The con goes just fine -- he gets the money. But he doesn't find out until after the con that his victim was a money man for a mob boss called the King (Dustin Hoffman). Jake hasn't stolen money from some guy who will not be able to go after him because he is too embarrassed to tell anyone or too unsophisticated to figure it out or not connected enough to have the resources to follow up. He has stolen money from a very tough, scary, guy. Jake could run. But Jake does have that confidence and knows that what he does best is talk just about anyone into just about anything. He won't have to spend the rest of his life on the run from gunmen if he can talk the mob boss into letting him get square with one more great big con. But who is it that is being conned?

Is it any good?

This is one of those twisty-turny stories in which it is fun to be in on the con, and even more fun to find that we have been conned ourselves. The big deception at the heart of the story is a little disappointing -- oddly uninventive. But the marvelous cast does wonders with smart, tough dialogue. The pleasures of this movie are not so much in the plot as in the small moments of character. That's where the real surprises and freshness are.

The "con" in "con man" comes from the word "confidence," because a con man doesn't use stealth or force to steal from his victims -- he wins their confidence, and so they give him their money, often happily, always greedily, because he leads them to think that they will get a lot more back. Doing that requires a great deal of confidence on the part of the crook.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the con man's greatest asset -- the mark who thinks that he is conning someone out of something.

Movie details

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