Synopsis by Karl Williams
Writer-director David Mamet crafted this unusual, Hitchcockian thriller in which no one is who they appear to be. Campbell Scott is Joe Ross, who has just created a "process" that stands to make his company and his boss, Klein (Ben Gazzara), millions of dollars. At a clandestine meeting in the Caribbean, Ross discusses the details of the process with company executives. There, purely by chance, or so he believes, he meets the wealthy, enigmatic Jimmy Dell (Steve Martin), and the two strike up an unusual friendship. Dell informs Ross that he's naïve to believe that his company will fairly compensate him for his valuable work. Upon returning home, Ross becomes paranoid that Dell is right, and he takes steps to protect his invention, becoming unsure if he can trust Klein or even his own love-struck assistant (Rebecca Pidgeon). When Ross discovers that Dell has lied to him about his identity, he contacts the FBI -- he then finds himself set up as a murder suspect who learns, almost too late, to trust no one. The title of the film refers not to any of the characters but to a classic con artist's scam.
con/scam, con-artist, deception, invention, murder, compensation, boss [employer], tourist