Review: The Sting (1973)

thesting

Apparently Butch and Sundance survived Bolivia and are now con men in Chicago!

Written By: David S. Ward
Directed By: George Roy Hill

I wasn’t as big a fan of Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid as most, so I went into The Sting with some reservations. Outside of one section that didn’t fit with the overall tone of the movie, The Sting was a much better effort from the team of Paul Newman, Robert Redford and George Roy Hill. It is a more carefree effort and doesn’t bog itself down with attempts at dramatics and moralizing as Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid was prone to do.

Wit and slickness are the words I want to use to describe The Sting, but even they don’t sound like they are good enough. The Sting is full of so much wit and looks so slick that I would have to pile on the hyperbole to adequately describe those aspects in The Sting. This results in a constant guessing game of what is going on with the con. You can’t say that The Sting isn’t a deep movie because the multiple layers of the con job give the audience something to constantly think about and dissect. Combined with the aforementioned carefree attitude The Sting was a lot of fun, but I did feel like the movie was missing something, I don’t know what, but something was missing.

Robert Redford and Paul Newman do have great chemistry, but sadly they aren’t on screen together that much and honestly there are times when I forgot Newman was in the movie because he is reduced to such a background character. The acting isn’t a problem though, don’t get me wrong, across the board the acting was able to envelop me in the con job. However, I did have a problem with the death of Luther, not that he died but that it was played as such a dramatic moment. The dramatics in his death didn’t fit with the tone of the rest of the movie and the emotions they wanted to elicit from me weren’t earned. This is offset by the reveal of Loretta as an assassin, a twist done so well that it came completely out of left field for me.

The Sting is a fun romp of a movie, trying to unravel the con job is fun all by itself. It’s not the all-time great that it has been pegged as, but it is a slick production with engaging acting and wit to spare. If you must see one Newman and Redford movie then go with The Sting, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid is good, but The Sting is much better and a more rewarding experience.

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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