I love movies about con games, but they have to be honest. I know that sounds funny, the moviemaker is obviously going to be out to trick you, and I want to be tricked. What I mean is, it should all add up when it’s over. You should have seen it coming. I’ve loved con games since The Sting, which introduced me to the concept of the big con, took me inside it, and then conned me almost right up to the end. I was the only person in the theater who laughed when Paul Newman shot Robert Redford, because it all came to me in a flash. This is exactly what they need, both of them dead and beyond the reach of Robert Shaw.
There have been some other good ones over the years, including Flimflam Man and Paper Moon and The Grifters, and some bad ones, and a few that trip over themselves trying to be too clever and just leave you feeling contempt for the writer.
These days, like everyone else, I’ve seen a lot of con movies, so the director faces a complicated challenge. You know how cons work, so you have to have another level of con working below the surface … and then you have to make the discerning viewer think he’s figured it out, only to pull the rug out from under him at the end.
This movie does this. I thought I had it, but … I can’t tell you any of the plot without giving you too many clues. Suffice it to say, it fooled me, and it fooled me honestly. It was all right out there, I could have got it, but I didn’t.
I love it when they do that. So long as my money isn’t riding on it.