Friday, July 1, 2011

The Sting

The Sting reunited Paul Newman and Robert Redford with their Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid director George Roy Hill. The result was a stylish and remarkably entertaining and clever con man picture that went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Set during the Great Depression on the south side of Chicago, small time confidence man Hooker (Redford) along with his mentor Luther con a numbers runner out of a couple thousand. Little do they know the man works for Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw), a ruthless Irish mob boss. Lonnegan has Luther bumped off, and Hooker wants revenge. Seeking out Henry Gondorff (Newman), the greatest con man in the world according to Luther, the duo seek to create a sting, a major operation involving many con men in order to put Lonnegan in his place. The Sting is a delight as well as a challenge from start to finish. With period detail to a T and Marvin Hamlisch's arrangement of Scott Joplin's ragtime music (which may be what is remembered best about the picture-see video below), The Sting places a twisting plot from a screenplay by David S. Ward on top of exquisite detail. Newman and Redford are wonderful in the leads, and seem to be having as much fun as we are watching. Shaw is great as well as the heavy and card scene with Newman is simply magnificent. I did have a few minor quibbles with small plot contrivances that just don't make sense, but overall this is a great film that is on top of its game in so many arenas.