Monday, January 15, 2007
movie review monday: the sting
Four years after setting box offices ablaze in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and director George Roy Hill reteamed with similar success for The Sting. Redford plays Depression-era confidence trickster Johnny Hooker, whose friend and mentor Luther Coleman (Robert Earl Jones) is murdered by racketeer/gambler Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw). Hoping to avenge Luther's death, Johnny begins planning a "sting"--an elaborate scam--to destroy Lonnegan. He enlists the aid of "the greatest con artist of them all," Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman), who pulls himself out of a drunken stupor and rises to the occasion. Hooker and Gondorff gather together an impressive array of con men, all of whom despise Lonnegan and wish to settle accounts on behalf of Luther. The twists and surprises that follow are too complex to relate in detail: suffice to say that you can't cheat an honest man, and that you shouldn't accept everything at face value. The Sting became one of the biggest hits of the early 1970s: grossing $68,450,000 during its first run, the film also picked up seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Adapted Score for Marvin Hamlisch's unforgettable setting of Scott Joplin's ragtime music. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide
Running Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Recently I watched Ocean's 12 again and was talking to my dad about it. Ocean's 11 is one of my favorite movies because you could technically figure out the whole thing as you're watching it, but mostly you're just rooting for the nicer set of bad guys to win even though it seems utterly impossible. Ocean's 12 has more make you laugh out loud moments though. I've always said that if I were to start commiting crimes, that would be my style. Non-violent, large takes, and kickass stories. The Italian Job is another fabulous example of what I'm talking about. I figure if I were to get caught, I'd at least want a great story. My dad suggested I see The Sting because he's pretty sure it was one of the first movies with that kind of story line to it.
The Sting is terrific. It came out in 1973, so there are parts of the style that are not used these days, but I think that's part of the charm. It takes place in the 30's and the music is great. Robert Redford and Paul Newman are hotties in this movie and the whole thing was acted very well. I enjoyed all of the twists and turns and would reccommend this to anyone who likes drama and stories that you can almost figure out before they end but probably won't catch everything. A must see for anyone who loves movies like Ocean's 11, The Italian Job, etc. This one really set the bar for all con movies.
Rating: Five out of five stars. Basically, just rent it. Immediately.
Also recommended: Matchstick Men