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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Croupier

Starring: Clive Owen, Alex Kingston
Director: Mike Hodges
Rated: R
RunTime: 91 Minutes
Release Date: April 2000
Genres: Cult, Drama, Suspense

*Also starring: Paul Reynolds, Gina McKee, Kate Hardie, Nicholas Ball

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Susan Granger review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
2.  Harvey Karten read the review ---

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

This compelling crime caper by British director Mike Hodges is what low-budget, independent film-making is all about. Back in the '70s, Mike Hodges did the critically acclaimed "Get Carter," starring Michael Caine, and this is in the same vein. It's based on a script by Paul Mayersberg, who years ago wrote one of my all-time favorites sci-fi films, "The Man Who Fell to Earth." Clive Owen plays Jack Manfred, a frustrated, aspiring novelist whose father (Nicholas Ball) gets him an interview for a job as a croupier at the Golden Lion Casino in London. And why not? He has the hand of a conjurer - or an experienced card player. Reluctantly, he takes the job at "the house of addiction," philosophizing, "You have to make a choice in life: be a gambler or a croupier - and live with your decision." And Jack is coldly obsessed with watching people lose since, after all, a good customer is a consistent loser. One of the most intriguing losers is a beautiful gambler (ER's Alex Kingston) from South Africa with whom he has an affair, deceiving his lover (Gina McKee), a store detective who believes Jack's high-tension job has made him into a miserable zombie. He also becomes involved with a fellow croupier (Kate Hardie). "I'm not an enigma," Jack explains. "I'm a contradiction." Jack's ultimate aim is to become totally detached (i.e.: "The croupier had reached his goal - he no longer heard the sound of the ball."). Jack's behind-the-scenes casino adventures and the various scams are intriguing but his hackneyed internal monologues about the book he's writing soon become tedious. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Croupier" is a clever, stylish, cynical 7. "Gambling," we're told, "is about not facing reality, not counting the odds." But, ah, the con artists!

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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