Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Croupier (Mike Hodges, 1998) The movie where people noticed Clive Owen. Hodges made the original "Get Carter" and a bad version of Crichton's "The Terminal Man" and the Dino DeLaurentiis "Flash Gordon." But these things can be forgiven when something like this rolls around. Jack Manfred is a writer, who hasn't written and is seeking inspiration. A former card-sharp, he takes a job as a croupier at a local casino, and finds himself changed. And for a man whose mantra is "I don't gamble," he hasn't realized that he does anyway, just as sure as breathing. Owen carries the movie, eyes at half-mast, watching his gamblers the way a lizard looks at ants, betraying everyone and everything but his emotions. He's a genuine cypher, and so incapable of expressing anything that when something turns in his life its always a bit of a shock. In the end, the dealer has to realize that he is just as capable of being played. And that revelation can come as quickly as the turning of a card.