Found these lists (twelve total which I've compiled) a couple years back and they slowly became my bible for weird…
Life's a Gamble
Jack Manfred is an aspiring writer who to make ends meet, takes a job as a croupier. Jack remains an observer, knowing that everything in life is a gamble and that gamblers are born to lose. Inevitably, he gets sucked into the world of the casino which takes its toll on his relationships and the novel he is writing.
Known for the Michael Caine led crime classic Get Carter (which I haven’t seen yet), Mike Hodges’ nineties Croupier is as lustrous as movies come. Starring Clive Owen as our titular croupier (a casino dealer to the less intellectual of us) otherwise named Jack Manfred, Croupier details the life and soul of a character tormented and disinterested by all that come across him. Jack wants to finish his novel and through some riveting narration by the man himself, it becomes apparent (or seems to be) that the story we are watching is the very same story Jack, or Jake as the protagonist in his novel is named, is writing. Croupier is a devilish film. It analyses a character whose motivation…
Clive Owen was touted a couple of years ago as a possible 007. Here we get to see plenty of him in a tuxedo as a talented croupier in a London casino, but as James Bond? I think not. This isn't however a film where Owen plays the action hero as this is more an insight into the nocturnal nightlife of the gambler and the addictive nature of games of chance.
Mike Hodges of Get Carter fame directed this one. Full of interior monologues from protagonist Jack (Owen) who plays a writer moonlighting as a croupier, this is a neo-noir that does have a quality script that draws you in. Owen is detached but strangely compelling as the casino employee…
Welcome back Jack, to the house of addiction.
It's easy to see why Clive Owen was once rumored to be the next James Bond. Here he plays Jack, a struggling writer who's working as a croupier at a casino, the farthest thing from being a spy and yet he still displays the characteristics we'd associate with 007. It also feels like a warm up for Sin City, as this neo-noir has a running voice over from Owen from beginning to end. This one is in third person however as we're inside his head as he's writing a book about his experiences.
This movie is an abomination.
I really don't have much of anything positive to say about it, but I hope I explain why.
Let me get a few of the sillier complaints (and snark) out of the way. Clive Owen has blonde hair for a while in this film. It looks disgusting. Not disgusting in a retroactive way, it is gross now, and it would have been gross in 1998 when the movie came out. In the film Owen wears suspenders, a trenchcoat, and a hat that looks like something a Hasidic Jew might wear. He dresses like Boy George, if he was a member of Dixie Midnight Runners, 15 years after they were popular.
Ok, I'm glad to have…
It's so good that I just jizzed thinking about it.
I have been watching some real crap recently so this was a classy change of pace. Clive Owen plays an aspiring writer who takes a job at a casino which serves as a source of inspiration. Much to the frustration of his live in girlfriend his obsession over the job leads him into romantic encounters with other women and later getting caught up in a plan to rob the place. Its a slow film and one could even say that not much of note happens in it but superior writing and atmosphere made this rather great. I love the attention given to the techniques and procedures of casino, reminiscent of the underseen Dinner Rush a film in which the going ons and character of the restaurant are given as much emphasis as the people inside it.
In full on youtube.
Mike Hodges' gambling drama has none of the grit or scope that his Get Carter does. Where that felt confident and robust this feels amateur and slight. It's difficult to fathom how Hodges' could have knocked it out of the park so early in his career, only to struggle for the rest of it.
The main challenge here is Paul Mayersberg's script with its high-school philosophy peppered through with very clunky dialogue. Every line reads like exposition and every character sounds like a writer rather than a real person. This film feels written. The behind the scenes world of London casinos does make for an arresting and authentic backdrop though.
Owen, yet to fully form as an actor, makes for…
Phenomenally written. Understandably the role that put Clive Owen on the map. A must watch for patrons of gambling films.
Not quite a masterpiece, but this is a really enjoyable movie. The story and the characters are down to earth, story moves quietly forward and Clive Owen's cold, smooth and mysterious performance goes very well together with the story.
The movie has some little twists and turns, but most of the time movie flows very calmly, but at the same time it manages to be little bit intense and chilling. So, that is pretty cool.
It's a well made movie. Check it out.
(7/8 is "Very Good")
Jake wanders through life as an "observer", as he puts it, in a world of poor actors - of people lacking any form of personality. He is a prime example. The exchanges he has with others are either of obligatory, shallow small talk or cynical, self-satisfactory observation. Life is a shallow game and he walks through it smirking. He plays his cards, regardless of how it affects others because, after all, they're playing their cards too.
Even when he gets roped into a con, he call's out his partner's incredulity. He knows that she has another angle but what the hell - he's done the math - he's betting on getting his cash in the end. It'll be interesting to see how it turns out.
This was a good movie, but I can't analyse it properly right now because I have my Oh-my-God-Alex-Kingston-is-the-Sexiest-Thing-in-the-Space-Time-Continuum Hat on and I'm probably not gonna be taking it off anytime soon.
Much better than I remember. Owen's slightly flat delivery of Jack Manfred's noiration reads more as an accentuated lack-of-emotion tic to me now where two decades back it felt simply wooden. Hodges' narrative has many parallels with American Psycho, e.g. in the slow breakdown of contrast between the inner monologue and interpersonal dialogue. The 'writer's distance' conceit works quite nicely and the casino-minus-murder-mystery setting is a refreshing change of scene. Owen both works fairly well whilts still proving one of the film's rougher edges but I'm glad I gave this another look. Also Gina McKee is a bonus to all films as far as I'm concerned.
"Hold on tightly, let go lightly"
Uunnnngh, how sexy is Kate Hardie?
Croupier was the film that afforded Get Carter director Mike Hodges a brief resurgence at the turn of the century, but it very nearly didn't happen. Head of Film Four at the time David Auken despised the film, claiming the only thing he liked about it were the closing credits. Its fate was appeared sealed, Croupier was to be yet another non-starter for Hodges and, frustrated, he was on the verge of retiring altogether.
It's quite ironic then that a film about gambling required an awful lot of luck for it to succeed. Though disowned by Film Four, Croupier was at least spared the demands of re-editing and…
Mike Hodges is not that an interesting director, but he has made a couple of interesting films. This is one of them. The film begins with a credit saying it is a Mike Hodges-Paul Mayersberg film and I think that is fair (and modest for a director): if we are looking for auteurs Mayersberg is at least as important as Hodges. But, although Mayersberg has scripted interesting films before this, I am not sure that a strong personality is distinguishable. (I haven’t seen any of the films he also directed, although their reputation is not large.) Croupier is an interesting and ambitious film that doesn’t really work: but it is better to have failed ambition than no ambition. Clive Owen…
Croupier is a very interesting and complex film. Clive Owen plays a struggle writer who works as a croupier at a London casino in order to make ends meet. Along the way, he provides insight into the world of casinos from the standpoint of both the house and the customers. Without divulging any details of the plot, I think this movie is meant to be an allegory for the whole concept of casinos. I definitely recommend checking it out if you're into gambling or just want an engaging movie to watch.
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