I think this is a prime example of just how great the artistry in mainstream commercial cinema can be. Entertaining as hell and superbly crafted. It's a modestly proportioned, highly stylish little comedic masterpiece.
Hardly surprising when you understand that it was knocked-out as a quickie by Ridley Scott's team between mega-blockbuster projects. Made for relatively little (and for the fun of it essentially) by a master-filmaker at the top of his game, it clearly demonstrates how deeply Scott is into movies and movie-making. His love of the medium shines through every facet of this gem.
The confident, high polish one expects is here in spades but the uncharacteristically modest scale of the project permits him to demonstrate a delicious lightness of touch which makes for a breeze of a ride. Characterisation and performances are consistently fresh (the three leads are equally memorable) in what is obviously conceived as original take on classic romantic comedies of the type that ended in the early sixties. Consequently there is a perfectly judged retro quality to this classy piece of contemporary Hollywood style. A joy.
The plot concerns the activities of a small cast of LA-based con-men and is ingeniously conceived. I completely disagree with the idea expressed elsewhere here that there are holes in the story that blow the plausibility of the central conceit. I'd say anyone watching for the first time will simply be swept along without a hitch (as I was).
Certainly the audacity is larger than life (this is an entertainment about tricksters) and gives one pause retrospectively. However, watch the DVD commentary and you will have the greatest difficulty picking holes. Any qualms will likely be quelled. The story is actually extremely tight; the strength of the script being what brought Scott on board in the first place. And finessed to perfection by his impeccable maker's attention to detail. Like every other aspect of the film, close examination reveals it to be rock solid.
Seriously, this one's a total treat.
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