Con Man Confidential

Year: 2006
Country: Germany
Running time: 84 mins

Screenplay: Alexander Adolph
Co-director/Editor: Nina Ergang
Photography: Estela Sanz Posteguillo, Susanne Schüle
Music: Dieter Schleip
In German with English subtitles

Festivals: Amsterdam Documentary 2006

This entertaining and disquieting encounter with four master con men never resorts to sensationalism, although what it divulges is indeed rather astounding. Director Alexander Adolph spent several years developing a relationship of trust with his subjects, and it shows in the disarming frankness with which they reveal themselves in front of his camera. His deft interweaving of talking-head interviews fashions vivid portraits. Torsten S., Marc Z., Peter G. and Jürgen H. all come from different backgrounds, but they share a disturbing disdain for their victims; if it weren't for the latter's gullibility, these cheats wouldn't have been ‘obliged' to commit their outrageous acts - ranging from presenting fake cheques to setting up phoney NATO security conferences. They also share a pathological need to stand above the crowd, and they were ultimately ensnared by their own subterfuge and scams. A few of the con men's real victims also make an appearance; it's possible that we may just recognise a little of ourselves in both.