The Sting is a very ambitious film with a ton of moving parts so it really ends up being quite a lot of fun. I enjoyed seeing jut how intense it was with a lot of twists and a huge cast of characters. Everyone stands out too which is a good thing and the suspense will keep you at the edge of your seat. I was definitely impressed with this one. Not to say I thought it would be bd or anything like that but is was still better than I expected. If you like planning movies like this then you will definitely have a great time here.
The movie starts with Johnny and Luther suckering a guy out of a lot of money and we see that they are grifters. Basically they part people with their money and it’s actually a rather profitable business. It has its share of risks to be sure but they have really done well for themselves. Unfortunately they messed with the wrong person this time and Luther is murdered by the mafia led by Doyle. Johnny escapes and meets up with a man named Henry who is supposed to be the best in the business. Johnny asks Henry to help him take revenge and so they set up the most ambitious trap yet to take down Doyle. Can they really defeat the leader of the mafia like this?
A film like this will only be as good as its writing and characters. Fortunately both of those are quite great so there is really nothing to worry about here. The movie is long which allows it to introduce all of the characters and make them all matter. The pacing never gets slow and so you never feel like things are dragging along. All of the scenes are necessary and the film gives you enough context to always keep up but you’re also supposed to think things out and try to stay ahead of the score too. The best part is that the plan actually feels feasible. Incredibly difficult to be sure but you aren’t suspending a whole lot of disbelief here.
Now the characters can’t be perfect or you might have some questions but for the most part they always make a lot of reasonable decisions and that goes a long way. My only issue here are the mistakes that Johnny makes. Sure the guy is a rookie compared to Henry but at the same time he’s still been in the game for a long while. When he wasted $10,000 on a roll of the dice that was just not a smart move. Even if the casino didn’t cheat, odds are great that he would have lost. There is no upside to spending a bunch of cash like that since the house will always clean up.
Then just as bad is when he decides to have a one night stand with a waitress. The stakes are too high for him to be messing around right now. Keep in mind that just about everyone in the city is after him at this point so he really doesn’t have a whole lot of time. He should be hiding out and laying low right now, not making moves. He seems rather desperate for someone from the start like when he was carrying the flowers at the beginning but he should just wait a little longer until after the plan is done. Things really came close to going sideways for him there. In a way it actually helped his defense since by looking like a sucker the villains really wouldn’t suspect him but he can’t take any credit there since that was accidental.
I like that Johnny was very determined to take revenge and he did put a lot into the planning. So I’m not going to sell him totally short. The guy contributed a ton and was a really solid character who had good acting to the end. His role was absolutely crucial in getting Doyle to take the bait. Ultimately he’s also just a likable main character. I would say Henry is the one who stole the show here though. He took huge risks himself and while the situation was a lot more personal to him than he let on, he still wasn’t as personally invested as Johnny was. Still he got the gang back together and pulled off a really grand exhibition. This film was truly a team effort with everyone putting in their part.
Meanwhile Doyle made for a solid main villain. The guy has a lot of personal pride which is why he couldn’t let the heroes get away with messing with him. Additionally he was pretty smart and was not easy to fool. It’s quite telling that the characters had to go so far in order to try and stay ahead of him. Half hearted methods definitely wouldn’t have done the trick here. This guy has a lot of muscle and you can see why he was the head of the mafia. Even to the end he was always a thorn in their side and switched things up enough times where you could say he did take every precaution. Ultimately the heroes were just too prepared for him.
I also liked Snyder and Polk as more supporting characters to mix things up. Snyder being more of a two bit criminal who was one of the more corrupt cops helped to be a wild card here. Same for Polk from the FBI side. The more sides you have in any movie the better and it was always great when Johnny would just be minding his own business and suddenly one of these guys shows up to complicate matters. He was really never allowed to have any peace while on the job. No matter what he did or where he went, there was always someone around to complicate maters further and cause a lot of trouble.
Overall, The Sting is a very satisfying movie. Not only does it remain very interesting throughout the entirety of the run but the ending is very satisfying. If you stumble at the ending that ends up hurting a lot so managing not to do that was a really big bonus for the title. The characters are likable and even the villain faction are solid. There weren’t any characters here that I really disliked. Everyone had their own objectives and you have to remember that this all started because Johnny and Luther were scamming people so it’s not even like they were upstanding citizens. When you become a crook you understand the risks and so it just happened to them earlier than they were expecting. It still remains personal but at the end of the day it was also business. Both of these villain groups were just doing what they wanted to do and so it turned into this big fight.