Jack Manfred is an aspiring writer going nowhere fast. To make ends meet, and against his better judgement, he takes a job as a croupier. He finds himself drawn into the casino world and the job gradually takes over his life; his relationship with girlfriend Marion begins to deteriorate. One gambler in particular catches his attention: Jani, whom he starts to see outside of working hours - a serious violation of casino rules. Jani is down on her luck; under pressure from her creditors she approaches Jack, asking him to be the inside man for a planned heist at the casino. Jack carefully considers the odds; it all looks so simple, but even a professional like Jack can't predict the cards he will be dealt. Written by
Sat on the shelf for two years before release. See more »
When Jack is taken off the roulette table approx 20 minutes in, the roulette wheel is not spinning. Roulette wheels are only stopped when the table is closed, and as there are players at the table the wheel should be moving. See more »
Now he had become the still center of that spinning wheel of misfortune. The world turned 'round him leaving him miraculously untouched. The croupier had reached his goal. He no longer heard the sound of the ball.
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"Croupier" is a British neo-noir. It has a detached character (or even better, two characters) who progressively get involved in a shadowy world from an apparently safe beginning, it has voice-overs, lots of artistic and original swearing, a depressing atmosphere and if you don't feel like lighting a cigarette with a Zippo after the movie is over, you're dead.
Clive Owen gives an amazing performance as the croupier of the title, who is very conscious of his split personalities: Jack, a gambler, the writer who works in the casino to pay the bills, and Jake, a croupier, a man who enjoys watching his customers losing all his money and who makes sure he's always dealing the cards. In the end, Jack loses and Jake wins. The message is delivered in the least subtle way possible, Hell, the voice-over is practically an intellectual analysis on the movie's meaning, but it works because Jack/Jake is an amazingly engaging character and because the movie is so well directed. The crime plot, although not surprising in the least, develops itself smoothly and contains lots of unexpected sources of humor.
"Croupier" is a very stylish and criminally underrated neo-noir that beats the living crap out of most of recent Hollywood releases centering about a big robbery or con. It might be heavy-handed, but it's conscious of where its strenghts lie, and Wilson is great. Why it's so criminally underrated... I don't have the faintest about.
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