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The Sting Review

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When his partner is murdered, young con artist Johnny Hooker (Redford) is keen to get revenge. He teams up with his dead mate's old friend Henry Gondorff (Newman), a fellow conman enduring a run of bad luck. Together they set up the swindle of a lifetime.

★★★★★

Guy Ritchie may have, for a while at least, been the crown prince of the comedy crime caper, but the real king remains George Roy Hill, the man who turned David Ward’s slick and snappy script for The Sting into one of cinema’s sassiest films. Hill and Ward structure the movie episodically, weaving together the components of the con into such a beautifully layered web that the viewer is hooked as easily as bad-guy Lonnegan (Robert Shaw).

With true economy of story-telling, Hill rattles from one scene to another, the action zipped along by Robert Redford’s young buck, Johnny Hooker, and his wily old mentor, Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman). Both men breathe sizzling charisma into their characters; these con men work against such nasty types that they’re almost morality Robin Hoods, albeit with their fingers in the coin purse. And that those fingers tap to a now-iconic ragtime soundtrack only adds to the feather-light comedy touch.Guy Ritchie may have, for a while at least, been the crown prince of the comedy crime caper, but the real king remains George Roy Hill, the man who turned David Ward’s slick and snappy script for The Sting into one of cinema’s sassiest films. Hill and Ward structure the movie episodically, weaving together the components of the con into such a beautifully layered web that the viewer is hooked as easily as bad-guy Lonnegan (Robert Shaw).

With true economy of story-telling, Hill rattles from one scene to another, the action zipped along by Robert Redford’s young buck, Johnny Hooker, and his wily old mentor, Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman). Both men breathe sizzling charisma into their characters; these con men work against such nasty types that they’re almost morality Robin Hoods, albeit with their fingers in the coin purse. And that those fingers tap to a now-iconic ragtime soundtrack only adds to the feather-light comedy touch.

One of those instances where everything good about Hollywood just fell into one place at the right time, it's almost impossible not to get swept up in the vivaciousness of The Sting as a whole. Magnificent, timeless stuff.

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