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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
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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I was a croupier myself for the best part of 15 years and I expected to see the usual depiction of a casino. You know the scene - think of any Bond movie - the Roulette wheel spins so fast that you can't see the numbers, the dealers all have sticks and speak in French accents, the bets are all placed before the ball is spun and all straight up on the number.
Not so this movie. Anyone that has ever been inside a real casino would
recognise this place. The urgency of every punter trying to get the last bet on before the ball drops, the cheats, the sad, sad losers that wait forever to place their last chips.
This is the most realistic depiction of a casino I have ever seen.
Clive Owen is perfect. He has obviously had a lot of training - only one criticism of his technique - he looks in the wheel as the ball is dropping - a good dealer looks at the layout and watches for late bets, he should be the last person to know which number has come up - he must have eyes in the back of his head to
spot a cheat the way he deals!
For realism, you can't fault this film - every character, even the peripheral extras are real and believable - it's a tour de force of perfect character sketches
plot is almost irrelevant - in fact, it is not quite up to the incredible atmosphere created - but it's good enough, the film is well worth your time. Hell, it's worth watching 2 or 3 times just to catch all of the great little cameos that you might have missed the first time
9 out of 10
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