King in Check
Review by Ross Anthony

Oh, this is a good film. Fun curious dialogue rolls across the tongues of rich likable characters to create a strong thumping pace that never lulls. While the editor and director top that off nicely with sweet technical touches in the wipes and cuts between sequences, it's really the rhythm of the script, repartee between actors, and a creatively assembled timeline (not action) that keep this crime caper hoppin' along.

The talented ensemble attracted me to this film in the first place. Lesser knowns, but hard working and always clutch -- Ed Burns, Luis Guzman, and Paul Giamatti; I've enjoyed their work in the past, so together, I was psyched. Hoffman and Garcia were just icing on that cake.

I screened this film at UCLA's Wadsworth Theater, apparently it was part of a film class. The instructor was fun, intelligent, well-prepared and had arranged for the director and writer to speak after the presentation. This was all well and good, unfortunately the film ran out of focus from beginning to end.

Director Foley, an interesting character in his own right, admits Hoffman mocked him in the picture via his character's (King's) idiosyncrasies. Foley emphasizes 'feel over think' and fought to build the ensemble with actors that could act -- as opposed to "Bankable" actors that may not fit the parts. Surprisingly, Ed Burns, is not yet bankable.

When asked if he was inspired by other films of the genre, Foley half-joked, "I don't see too many con films ... maybe that's because I'm too dumb to figure it out, unless Doug (the writer) explains it to me."

There's a moment in the film that hit me particularly sweetly. Jake (Burns) lists three dangerous redheads as a means of explaining why they are bad luck. The first two make comedic sense, but the third is critically personal. That moment struck me, so I found it especially satisfying when the director spoke to it directly, "It's a zap of emotion while the script's barreling along."

Fun, clever, light, entertaining. I'll be looking forward to more of Foley's and Jung's work as well.

  • Confidence. Copyright © 2003. Rated R.
  • Starring Ed Burns, Rachel Weisz, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Donal Logue, Luis Guzman, Andy Garcia, Brian Van Holt, Franky G, Morris Chestnut.
  • Directed by James foley. Written by Doug Jung.
  • Produced by Marc Butan, Michael Paseomek, Michael Burns, Michael Ohoven at Lions Gate.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:16:55 PDT