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>
25 years after casting his magic in The Hustler, Paul Newman returns again as Fast Eddie Felson, and the results are almost as good as the 1961 offering. Here he is older and wiser and carrying around a cue case full of cynicism, tho no longer involved in the game of pool he has his hunger for the game and the money it makes, rekindled by a meeting with dynamite hot shot Vincent and his beautiful girlfriend Carmen.
The story involves the three of them going on the road hustling and aiming for the big pay off that Vincent's talent can ultimately bring them, naturally it's not all sweetness and light tho.
It's a fine film when looking at it now, and I was amazed that it didn't feel like an 80s film as such, and this is down to the cracking direction of Martin Scorsese, it may be one of his most mainstream commercial offerings but his fine work is there for all to see. The camera glides around as if on air to create joyous results, shots that put the pool action right into the conscious of the viewer, it's a great effort. The film is further boosted by two wonderful performances from the leading men, Newman deserved his Oscar for putting such verve and honesty into the now grizzled Felson, there is a scene with Forest Whitaker that is Newman gold without him hardly having to say anything . Then there is Cruise, all big hair and a ball of adrenaline, a great ebullient show that is great fun to watch. I read somewhere that Newman praised Cruise for capturing the essence of a young Eddie Felson, well you can't say fairer than that. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio more than holds her own with the boys and fleshes out a smart and entertaining film that seems to get better with age, just like Felson funnily enough.
Oh he's back alright, 9/10.
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