Not only are you a cheat, you're a gutless cheat as well.

Not only are you a cheat, you’re a gutless cheat as well.

Eventually, we all get played.

We can take steps to protect ourselves – keeping our wits about us, and our eyes open for instance – but the thing is that we all go through this world as targets for takers. They do the taking, we get took.

More than once in THE STING, a character gets played. In each moment, that moment of realization is beautiful in the way it washes over the character. All of the emotions are there in quick succession: confusion, panic, realization, anger, and acceptance. It’s a rare instance where the mark not only realizes they’ve been had, but also who had them…a detail we don’t always get.

This particular shot gets an extra little boost with the way the crook is holding the packet he thought had money in it. His look of shock is almost mirrored in the way he’s holding his hands…as if they too cannot believe they aren’t holding hundreds of dollars (because thy were a few minutes ago!). However, he’s been had, and even though he knows it, he also knows it’s far too late to do anything about it. The scene of the crime is blocks away in that car’s rear window…no chance he’d get back in time. Even if he could, the scam is irreconcilable since it sprung from a scam he was trying to pull.

Now most of us don’t make a living picking other people’s pockets, but I’d wager many of us have been a target at least once in our life (if you haven’t – count yourself lucky). It’s because most of us live honestly that the discovery of being targeted stings as hard as it does. We like to believe that if we stay relatively savvy that our money and our privacy will be respected and protected. It’s a lovely thought, and most of the time it holds true. Once in a while though, our luck runs out and somebody helps themself. What then?

Well just like this shot in THE STING, we feel a whole series of emotions all at once. We feel panic, we feel violated, and we feel angry to name but a few. We frantically search for an answer – any answer, besides the obvious one – hoping that we are just mistaken and that the thing that has gone missing is right where it’s supposed to be.

Often though, we aren’t that lucky. Some brazen soul has reached into our pocket…taken something off our desk…told us a lie…or hacked our account. They saw the opportunity and went right for it. In the wort cases it isn’t just our property that gets taken from us, but little pieces of our trust in people.

The realization that we’ve been taken might come quickly, but that doesn’t make being took any more palatable.


Here’s three more from THE STING for the road…



Redford, Newman, and Brennan

Robert Shaw

This series of posts is inspired by the “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” series at The Film Experience. Do check out all of the awesome entires in their series so far