Review: ‘The Con Game’

Inspired by his own experience with a rip-off artist some years back, Peruvian helmer's feature is a crisply written and staged ensembler in which economically crunched Lima residents get fleeced but good by one smooth operator. Theatrical/tube sales to Spanish-speaking markets are signaled.

Inspired by his own experience with a rip-off artist some years back, Peruvian helmer Alberto aka Chicho Durant’s latest feature is a crisply written and staged ensembler in which economically crunched Lima residents get fleeced but good by one smooth operator. Given that aud grasps the con’s ill intentions early on, all that’s left is to squirm through protags’ escalating suckerdom — an experience not especially pleasant, despite pic’s seriocomic tenor. Theatrical/tube sales to Spanish-speaking markets are signaled.

Backgrounded by scandalous 2000 collapse of Prez Fugimori’s regime, tale offers a metaphor for the corruption that plagues all levels of Peruvian society. Nominal protag Rafo (Fabrizio Aguilar) is an aspiring filmmaker, son of a rich industrialist, who’s irresponsibly backed himself and exasperated g.f. Laura (Mari Pili Barreda) into a financial corner. With rent and every other bill overdue, he decides to sell his vintage Chevy convertible, getting a great offer from a high-flying Spanish businessman. But alas, latter (Fernando Cayo) is in truth a slick trickster who manages to fleece not just Rafo, but a real estate rep, taxi driver, a contingent of Japanese executives and myriad others during one intricate 24-hour maneuver.

The Con Game

Peru

Production

A Buena Onda Films presentation of an Agua Dulce Films production in association with Morena Films, Sahara Films, ICAIC and Arca Difusion. Executive producers, Robert Bevan, Donald K. Ranvaud. Co-producers, Juan Gordon, Carlo Bettin, Camilo Vives, Liliana Mazure. Directed, written by Chicho Durant.

Crew

Camera (color), Juan Duran; editor, Fernando Pardo; music, Alfonso Arias; production designers, Marta Mendez, Ivette Hechler, Guille Palacios. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (World Cinema), Jan. 18, 2004. Original title: Doble Juego. Running time: 90 MIN.

With

Fabrizio Aguilar, Fernando Cayo, Mari Pili Barreda, Gianfranco Brero, Carlos Alcantara, Katia Condos, Gianella Neyra, Mialgros Vidal, Emilram Cossio, Mario Velasquez, Ricardo Fernandez.
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