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Croupier (1998)
 
Passed over by British cinemas, this 1998 film took off in the United States when it was released in early 2000 in "art cinemas". From small beginnings it grossed $6million and was brought back to Britain for general release in 2001.

Most people have at least one trade that they're really good at. It's not necessarily what they love doing (or think they love), but they picked it up somewhere down the line, and now they have that skill. They've probably tried their hands at a variety of things, but it comes down to that one thing and for our star its being a casino dealer. Croupier starts as Jack Manfred (Owen) is struggling with getting a career as a novelist started. His girlfriend, Marion (McKee), is a department store security spy, and finds his novelist aspirations sexy, coming as she does from a working class background. The thing is... Jack, deep down, might not be that great of a writer. Or at least, it doesn't come naturally.
 
The cast is solid, with three strong female supporting roles (the persevering McKee, the electric Hardie, and the compulsive gambler, Kingston) that represent different paths Jack's life might follow. Will he stay "good"? Will he become addicted to the exploitation of addiction? Will he become a gambler/criminal himself? Or... will his path take him somewhere in between? As Jack Manfred, Clive Owen gives a riveting-cool turn; there's something about him that takes us back to British films of the 1950's and 1960's that spawned the original James Bond (Sean Connery) movies. If the Bond movies ever went "retro" (emphasizing mood over bombastic action scenes), Owen would be your new Bond
 
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Croupier is a stylish, riveting dramatic crime story, loaded to the gills with subtext, character development, and plot twists you'll be puzzling over all night. The ending is open-ended (to a degree), but in doing so, director Mike Hodges and writer Paul Mayersberg have given us a view of this story that someone reading a book of the same story might have... it's all in the interpretation. Our personal view is that they cut some scenes from the final cut that weren't good enough and you have to fill in the gaps yourself. You won't be able to but that doesn't stop you enjoying this movie.
Marks : 7½/10
Director Mike Hodges Clive Owen Jack Manfred
Writing Paul Mayersberg Kate Hardie Bella
Producer Jonathan Cavendish Gina McKee Marion Nell
 
 
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