My father enjoys a good many of the same films that I do, and quite recently, upon hearing of my quest, had two films to recommend to me (and both are on the list): The Hustler, and The Sting. Well, I’d seen The Hustler, and now, thanks to TCM once again, I can tell him I’ve seen The Sting as well. Incidentally, both of those films star Paul Newman, which is either a nice coincidence or my dad just has a liking for Paul Newman flicks. It also stars Robert Redford, who previously worked with Newman and director George Roy Hill on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, so everybody’s already good friends here.
So, as for the story, it involves two con men who get screwed over, to put it mildly, by a mob boss named Lonnegan who kills one for robbing one of his lackeys. The other (Redford) flees to Chicago where he recruits an old friend (Newman) to get back at Lonnegan with one more big con, a la ‘the sting’. The film plays like an old style Ocean’s Eleven, complete with stylistic filming and editing techniques, which works very effectively for the material. The scenery is mostly smoky bars and gambling joints, and occasionally run-down apartment buildings, but it all works for what the film tries to do. The one problem I had with the film was the pacing; it seems to sag in some spots, but overall the film kept going at a somewhat decent clip. There was plenty of stuff happening, plenty of twists and turns in the storyline; the film was very full of material, and none of it was ever boring, as saggy as the pacing got a few times.
The thing I liked best about this film was its accessibility. This is one I can easily recommend to a wide audience; it’s simple, effective, and doesn’t play to one particular crowd. Just about anybody can like this film; it has aged very well, and has lost none of its vintage, so to speak. It never feels as old as it is, is what I’m saying. This holds up well even in a modern light, so grab a cold drink, and sit down to enjoy this very entertaining film, should the chance ever arise. Just reach out and take it.
Arbitrary Rating: 9/10