The Confidence Man JP: The Movie (2019) - Japan
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
This is a highly enjoyable escapist conman type of movie that arose as a spin-off in the star-studded Japanese TV series of the same name. In fact, the lead is played by con-woman Masami Nagasawa, meaning the title should have been named - “Confidence Woman”. Still, the film make use of Hong Kong as an ironic backdrop and even manages to breezes by with brief social commentary on the current protest situations. What it does not include are usage of local Hong Kong actors instead we are resorted with Japanese actors speaking terrible and broken Cantonese.
Masami Nagasawa is an extremely likeable lead as the free roaming Con-woman leader. Nagasawa have good chemistry with the group of wannabe-thieves played by Lisa Oda (as new recruit), Masahiro Higashide as long time love interest and Fumiyo Kohinata as the older veteran. We also get an interesting subplot of a Yakuza boss played by the entertaining Yosuke Eguchi. Fans of J-drama will rejoice in seeing Yuko Takeuchi as the rich business woman controlling Hong Kong and former flame of Nagasawa played by Haruma Miura adds to the all-star casting.
All in all, Director Ryo Tanaka does well to pace the film at a lightening speed allowing the set pieces and jokes to go by within a second. It helps when the cast are well-gelled and fresh from the TV series and the film manages to stand-alone in all aspects. Perhaps, Hong Kong settings should have been better capitalised, instead on many occasions, studio interiors are used. For a fun and breezy film, this one manages to con the audience to enjoy it.
I rated 7.5/10