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In Phoenix, Arizona, all is not well at the local police station as some of the colleagues are not good of heart. Superstitious cop Harry Collins is on the take. He a compulsive gambler who is forced to plan a heist with fellow cops Mike, James, and Fred to rip off local pimp and overall bad guy, Louie, to pay off gambling debts run up with "bookie" Chicago. Written by
Chris Foster <email@example.com>
I was somewhat shocked at just how good this film was. I should not have been, the cast is outstanding! Moreover, when you have Ray Liotta in the lead role, you are going to be pretty good. However, this film goes way beyond pretty good and close to perfection.
The Movie tells the story of four Phoenix detectives, each of which is somewhat less than perfect (to say the least). In fact, a couple of them are criminals (Anthony LaPaglia is great). The story centers around that of Ray Liotta's character, a hopeless gambler. However, to Liotta, gambling is somewhat of an honorable tradition (one carried down from his father). He speaks of gambling as if it was his religion. He bets on everything. He starts conversations with people he considers lucky, in attempts to get some kind of a hidden tip on a horse. He sees a cute little girl and asks her her name, she says Betsy. So he looks for a horse named Betsy. However, like he tells one of his partners, "I don't gamble to make money." His partner's response, "no s**t." The more bets Liotta makes, the more he loses. Pretty soon, he is in pretty heavy to a loan shark named Chicago (played brilliantly by Tom Noonan). When his fellow partners suggest arresting or killing the loan shark (that is starting to lean heavy on Liotta), Liotta is shocked, there is no honor in welshing on a bet. From here, we see the downward spiral of all people involved in the story.
I mentioned the cast in this film and it is an incredible group. What is greater, is that each is given a real character to play, with unique flaws and traits. Each scene is wonderful to look at, visually. Be it a rainy night, a heist with animal masks, or a brutal Arizona desert. The dialog is sharp and very witty. The images are gritty and slick. Symbolism abounds in every scene. This is really a tremendous film! **** out of ****.
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