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>
"Twenty five years ago, my career ended before it had even really started," Eddie Felson tells Vince, a young pool shark. No longer the cocky man he was in "The Hustler," Eddie (Paul Newman) in 1986 is retired from pool and a successful investor. When he spots hot-shot Vince (Tom Cruise), he decides to invest in him and take him on the road, with the goal of Vince winning a big pool tournament in Atlantic City. Along the way, Eddie confronts what he was and is no more and looks at the dreams he let die. When Vince is too foolish and strong-willed to take his advice, Eddie makes an important decision.
Though not as strong a film as "The Hustler," "The Color of Money" is still an excellent film with a great cast led by Newman, at the peak of his "older man" good looks and the brilliant acting he's always had. And, as usual, he tells you everything you need to know about a character. It's clear that he was content with his life and his attractive girlfriend (Helen Shaver) until he saw Vince. Then the old restlessness and competitiveness came creeping back into his blood.
Seeing Tom Cruise in 1986 is startling since today, the lower half of his face has changed drastically due to plastic surgery. Here he conveys the raw, youthful energy that helped make him a star. Like many successful movie actors, he has a wonderful physical agility. His pompadoured Vince is a short-tempered, jealous, talented ingrate who can't help showing off. Cruise is very effective, as is Mary Elizabeth Mastroantonio as his sultry, beautiful girlfriend in another role she made memorable in the '80s.
Beautifully directed by Scorcese, "The Color of Money" shows that it's never too late to follow your dreams and, with the right actors and the right script, you can do a good sequel even 25 years after the original.
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