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Tough Luck (2003)

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A tense and intricate web of deceit and betrayal entangles Archie, a wandering grifter who is hired by a traveling carnival owner to murder his beautiful wife.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
David A. Flood ...
Bally Talker
George McArthur ...
Borachov (as George 'The Giant' McArthur)
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A tense and intricate web of deceit and betrayal entangles Archie, a wandering grifter who is hired by a traveling carnival owner to murder his beautiful wife, Divana, only to be seduced into acting as her accomplice. He tries to fake the murder and collect his payment, but is double-crossed and framed for the crime. On the run, and believing Divana dead, he chances upon her in New Orleans where he discovers the fake murder was just a diversion for her and the carney owner to steal a quarter of a million dollars in laundered casino money. In a seductive play for trust fueled by passion, Divana convinces Archie to take part in a new plot to steal the casino money and start a new life. In a twisted finale he discovers the true meaning of double-cross in a deadly collision of money and revenge. Written by Aaron Rogers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


There's a sucker born every minute.



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and sexual content | See all certifications »




Release Date:

3 November 2004 (United Arab Emirates)  »

Also Known As:

Tough Luck  »

Filming Locations:


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Did You Know?


Actor Steve Comisar, who played Stan in Tough Luck, appeared in the 1985 X-Rated Film "Sister Dearest" with porn star Traci Lords. See more »


After Divana's trailer explodes, the police car that responds is a City of Mobile (Alabama) cruiser instead of a New Orleans cruiser, which is where the film takes place. See more »


Archie: I always think of women like casinos. They love you when you are up. They hate you when you are down. They throw you out when you cheat. But still you keep coming back for more.
See more »

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User Reviews

Incredibly gripping and entertaining, with an unfolding plot and really good twists
24 July 2009 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

TOUGH LUCK follows a homeless drifter as he becomes entangled in the underground crime world of deception and chaos. Archie(Norman Reedus) has been released from prison and has nothing to lose. He is almost killed before the owner of a carnival named Ike(Armand Assante) hires him for work. Soon Ike discloses a strong desire for Archie to murder his mischievous wife, Divana(Dagmara Dominczyk), an erotic dancer for the Carnival. Things soon get complicated when Archie falls in love with Divana and warns her of the scheme. They become involved in a very steamy affair that leaves little to the imagination of the viewer, after which they soon make a plan. Together they plot to murder Ike, but things don't go quite as planned.

I would be lying if I said that this film didn't surprise me. I was, personally, blown away by how good this film was. Upon renting it several years back, I was expecting another cliché thriller with a lot of the typical elements and themes that are shown in a lot of films of that type these days. Within minutes I was hooked and found myself quite involved with the world of this film. It's the kind of film, much like BUFFALO '66, that just sucks you in and transports you into the style and the feeling of paranoia. It is a film that really pulls it off in stunning fashion. One thing I particularly appreciated was how the film depicted it's characters. The film isn't as easy and clear cut as it may appear in the plot summary. These are characters that you actually grow to care about and are fascinated by, including the characters that are supposed to be the bad guys. In truth, there are no good guys or bad guys in this film. All of the characters are flawed in ways that are realistic and incredibly true-to-life. There aren't many films that manage to accomplish this task as flawlessly as this film does, but it's definitely a film style that I like and I want to see more of from films today. There were quite a few crime films that were like that back in the early 50s, but there hasn't been one as gripping and unique as this ever since!

In terms of flaws, I have mostly very minor gripes. The film itself isn't exactly original. However, I doubt that most folks would expect it to be original. The film's editing style also may be irritating to some folks as it tends to have a camcorder type of shaky cam throughout. While I wasn't bothered by it and actually felt that it added to the atmosphere, I'm sure most viewers will not be as enthralled by it and may find it generally off-putting. Despite the minor flaws, however, this is one of the most underrated films of the 2000s. It's so refreshing to get lucky and watch an unknown film that turns out to be good. It seems as if this film was a direct-to-video release, though this film is far better than that. Had it been put in theaters, it wouldn't have won any awards nor would it have been seen much, but it would have a lot more recognition than it has today. Recognition that this film deserves. TOUGH LUCK is an astounding, entertaining, and twisted neo-noir thriller with a real sense of class and style juxtapose and with enough substance to make the average moviegoer more than simply satisfied.

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