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 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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In the "Croupier", Mike Hodges takes us in a thrilling journey in the underworld of gambling. We are introduced to Jack (Owen), an average guy who tries (unsuccessfully) to make a living as a writer. He lives a with his girlfriend Marion (McKee), an ex-cop who is deeply in love with him (while he is quite more reserved in his feelings). However, after his father arranges for him a job offer as a croupier in a casino, his life gets completely transformed: His new world and the creatures that live in it begin to devour him, and his character gets gradually reshaped. He is faced with corruption, lust, and ultimately, crime, and Marion does not seem to have the ability to bring him back.
Mike Hodges gives us an excellent account of Jack's world, with the characters being vividly and convincingly portrayed. A small plot twist in the end adds up to the overall excitement.
Clive Owen is simply superb as the icy croupier, who although he tries to be detached, he simply cannot (and probably does not want to) escape from his downhill path. We also enjoy very good performances by all the other actors involved.
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