Pool hustler Fast Eddie Felson finds the young, promising pool player Vincent in a local bar and he sees in him a younger version of himself. To try and make it as in the old days, Eddie offers to teach Vincent how to be a hustler. After some hesitations Vincent accepts and Eddie takes him and Vincent's girlfriend Carmen on a tour through the country to work the pool halls. However, Vincent's tendency to show off his talent and by doing so warning off the players and losing money, soon leads to a confrontation with Eddie. Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
In the scene where they park the car just before going into the abandoned pool hall. They walk across the street to get to the pool hall, but when they walk back to the car they are exiting a building on the same side of the street as their car. See more »
25 years after throwing in the cue Fast Eddie Nelson (invariably played by Paul Newman) he now owns a pool hall and spends his time with some minor hustling. Until he comes across a guileless, but prodigally talented youngster with incessant bad hair days called Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise), who with ease and mirth dispatches the best pool player in his establishment. Enticed by the hapless youth Eddie soon ventures to take him and his girlfriend-manager Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) on the road to throw them into the world of pool hustling and then to finally bring them to the Atlantic City to compete on the big stage...
Paul Newman easily dominates proceedings with his restrained gentlemen charm residing somewhere on the verge of skewed morality - a place of pool cons made hard-earned money and just reward (fuly deserved Oscar winning role). Opposing him Cruise delivers a rather bland outing, in part due to attention subconsciously shifted north of his forehead to his 'dead beaver' hair-do. Thankfully however Cruise's character is essentially a counterpoint to Eddie - initially an uncouth naive jester under tutelage evolves into a self-conscience and money-orientated player, much in the mold of the hustler himself. Roles however change when Eddie rediscovers the joys of simply playing pool undercut by being hustled himself by a random Joe. As Vincent immerses further into the life, Eddie rediscover the pure joy of playing and enters the Atlantic City competition, thus basically completing a full circle (Vincent now the king of the world Eddie once was, whilst Eddie mature has now grown to appreciate the little things).
The story itself tries to indulge the viewer, but watching balls being struck rarely builds enthusiasm, whilst the moral ambiguity of proceedings shadows the film in both greyness as well as dullness. Though Eddie especially is vividly evoked, "The Colour of Money" drags along with an unflinching incapability to make thunderbolting racks into a thrilling watching experience, instead drenched in smoke, lethargy and morose build-up (not helped by dim grainy cinematography). As stated in the movie the 9-shot is essentially nonstrategic, based on luck, noisy, quick and essentially crass, making the whole experience feel like nonsubstantial style.Coupled with bumbling chemistry between the two leads and some drunkenly built dramaturgy pieces fail to emotionally fall into place (in some part owed to the self-evident premise, which makes proceedings overly predictable. Despite Newman's best efforts overall the limping dramatic side and marginally interesting subject matter cause Scorsese to fail to lift off the ground.
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