THE STING

(1973)
With Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Robert Shaw, Charles Durning, Ray Walston, Eileen Brennan, Harold Gould
Directed by George Roy Hill
Reviewed by JB

    Some movies are always impressive and some are impressive for their time. THE STING falls somewhere in between.  Paul Newman, as a retired con artist coaxed back into a big score, is an actor who can win you over and hold you immediately with just a wink and a smile, while Robert Shaw, in a choice part as a slow-burning Irish mobster, reminds us once again that he was taken much too early.  The film is not only set in the 1930s, but also an homage to old-fashioned filmmaking, using silent film techniques such as iris-in and iris-out, as well as featuring an excellent Scott Joplin soundtrack arranged by Marvin Hamlish.  The supporting cast of character actors such as Charles Durning, Eileen Brennan, Harold Gould and Ray Walston, are all tremendous fun to watch.

     But THE STING is a caper film, and there have been so many other movies of this ilk since with even more elaborate stings and setups that the one in THE STING, cleverly staged though it is, seems bland by comparison.  In addition, Robert Redford received the best actor award for this film, and  compared to the rest of the cast, he is not all that good.  He comes off more as the Tom Cruise of his time: good-looking, dimpled, a fair actor who neither makes a movie better or worse with his presence.

     Still, with Newman, Shaw, its cast of character actors and the heartfelt tribute to the past lovingly embedded into its production values, THE STING is a fine, entertaining film.  Just not as fine and entertaining as it was when it was first released in 1973. 3½ - JB

Drama     Paul Newman     The Stuff You Gotta Watch


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