If you like elaborate heist movies and con artist protagonists, then Nick the Sting has some bite.
A con artist becomes more daring as he goes up against a crime lord, culminating in the ultimate con.
A wily and cunning con artist named Nick Hezard (Luc Merenda, a little too smug) has worked his way up from lifting pocket books and cash from unsuspecting bystanders to heisting millions in jewels. On the street, he’s respected by other con artists and misfits who see him as a celebrity, but when he swipes the jewels – worth over four million – he riles the ire of a crime lord named Clark (Lee J. Cobb) in Geneva, who had a stake in the jewels and now must either recover the jewels or take the insurance money for them. Word on the street is that Nick is the culprit, and now that Nick is on Clark’s radar, his entire criminal organization is onto him, and with a price on his head to boot. Somehow – by either his guile or street smarts – Nick manages to always be one step ahead of even the most ruthless and experienced assassins now on his trail, and because he’s becoming annoyed by Clark, he decides to go all-in against him. First, he manages to dupe Clark in a simple, but effective scheme that gives Nick the upper hand in a deceptively easy swindle that allows him to sue Clark and win in a coup that nets him 200K. This really rankles Clark, who amps up his attempts to catch Nick, who then, in turn, plans a massively elaborate scam that sees Clark captured by fake police for a fake murder that everyone is willing to testify happened and also point to Clark as the culprit. Completely fooling Clark – with his muscle and entourage now out of the way – Nick figures out how to decimate Clark’s finances and entire organization in one fell swoop, but he and all his con artist friends will need to work on their split second timing in order for the scam to work without a hitch.
A breezy thriller that is much lighter than it seems on the surface, Nick the Sting still retains a gangster / action film vibe, but its focus is very much to feel like a comedy in tone than a gritty thriller. Filmmaker Fernando Di Leo tries a stylish route with multi-screen moments (which to me are distracting and date the picture) and altered perspectives in certain scenes, and while the movie has some tense moments like some fight scenes, beatdowns, and a car chase, the film works best when the con is on. If you like elaborate heist movies and con artist protagonists, then Nick the Sting has some bite.
Raro Video’s new Blu-ray release of Nick the Sting looks solid in high definition, and comes in Italian with English subtitles. There’s also a bonus feature on ’60s and ’70s split screen cinema.