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
The film was a surprise hit in the US despite being an unsupported flop in its native UK. Director Mike Hodges was particularly disheartened by the fact that the British posters for Croupier (1998) read "From the director of A Prayer for the Dying (1987)", a film from which Hodges had tried to have his name removed from the credits. See more »
When Jack has a job interview at the London casino his father recommends him for, the manager (Mr. Reynolds) at one stage asks him the current count at the Blackjack table. Jack insists it is -9, the manager insists it is -8 to which Jack confides smugly to himself "It had taken him 45 minutes but Jack now had Mr. Reynolds number. The man couldn't count."
Neither Jack or Mr. Reynolds can count. The count is actually at +2. 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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Mike Hodges' film 'Croupier' tells the stark story of Jack Manfred, a writer who sells his soul to work in a casino. As might be expected from the director of 'Get Carter', the acting is deadpan throughout, and the plot is likewise understated: the point is less what happens than the fact that Jack can deal with it. Yet this (short) film is oddly compelling: although we actually get only a brief insight into the workings of the casino, there's something very addictive about the way it is presented, the film has the smack of authenticity and one watches transfixed, as if one was being shown it all for real. Also effectively communicated is the mixture of alienation and exhilaration that comes to possess and drive an increasingly dehumanised Jack. 'Croupier' is not the best film ever made, but it never oversells itself and holds one's attention throughout. A highly effective and distinctive thriller.
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