....or, "The Large Con consists of a series of Small Cons put in an 'attractive' order".
....or, "Everybody's got a little bit of small con in them. Well, some folks have larger cons..."
I saw this movie again and, despite my distaste for certain aspects of the Mamet approach (He wishes actors to read the dialog as written, without emoting too much. The emoting is somehow brought across in the words. In my opinion sometimes the dialog comes off as more staccato than true life, but who am I? Mamet is the world renown author/director, here. I am simply a hack reviewer--but I digress)...this, I think, is a very cool movie with a lot going for it. The chemistry with Crouse and Mantegna is subtly packaged...the cool psychologist becomes child like to the swaggering, but one step from being oily, con-man. She wanted so much to believe that she was being allowed in a world of secrets, privy to only a few, so she trusted this guy to Father her thru this mesh of crosses and double-crossings.
Those moments with the con-artist to her were romantic, exciting, hell, downright sexy and she was feeling more alive than the sterile clinical environment offered to her as a psychologist. Until, that is, The Big Tell gave her a kick in her nether regions.
What makes the movie a surreal experience is that on one level anyone who is in movie making and story telling (or sometimes health services like psychiatry/psychology) is some what of a con artist that we all surrender to one way or another. And we in the audience usually have to remind ourselves to Look Out for The Tell...do you see where I'm going with this? Good. Remember then. And see this movie. It's a good one.