Swindled Movie Review

I love me a good con man movie. I love 'em right up. And while Spanish director Miguel Bardem's Swindled has most of the elements you need to create a movie that earns the film's title, it still doesn't reach the rarified air of classics like House of Games or even near-classics like Nine Queens, another Spanish-language con game that had you guessing until the final scene.

Start with the good: The first of two exciting stars, the elder statesman of Spanish cinema, Federico Luppi (Cronos), as the elder statesman of the Spanish con game. Happenstance brings him Ernesto (Ernesto Alterio), a small-time crook who joins with Federico to pull off the heist of their lives. The musky Victoria Abril, Federico's (improbable) ex-lover and the other highlight of the movie, stumbles into the scene with even bigger ideas. Before long they've concocted a scam that could net them millions.

So far so good, but problem #1 appears with the details of the scam. Part of it is hazy, part is obvious. There's not much more to the uber-plot than convincing a rube or two to give them millions of dollars for property that doesn't exist. That's not really a con, it's an upscale mugging. Then come the twists, without which Swindled would be dead in the water. Four or five major players are all clearly intent on being the last man (or woman) standing, the one that takes home all the cash. Partners will be double-crossed, triple-crossed, and quadruple-crossed, deaths will be faked multiple times, and briefcases full of cash will be endlessly switched until someone wins the game. Who will it be? Don't bother trying to figure it out. You'll just have to accept the conclusion and try not to blink when the film replays the switcheroos that never actually happened the first time around.

A final concern is Alterio's voice-over, which is incessant and grating. Stories like this just don't work with some dude yammering on and on about his life. Just get to the backstabbing and, for God's sake, try and have it make some sense.

Aka Incautos.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer : Francisco Ramos

Comments

Swindled Rating

" OK "

Rating: NR, 2004

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