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Hard Eight (1997)
 
Before hitting the big time with his second film Boogie Nights and then later Magnolia, young filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson impressed critics with this deftly conceived, low-budget film noir. With its minimalist plot, deliberate pacing, and brief, but shocking bursts of violence, Hard Eight will please the serious film voyeur. A first-rate cast putting in a top performance.

What is good about this film is the way you don't expect anything and are continually moved on to the next scene. Its unassuming and unimposing at all times, you don't have to believe the impossible at any stage. There are no super-human feats of endevour or bravery.

Hard Eight is the name for one particular bet in the casino game craps. Sydney, the main character, is renowned for his big bets on hard-eight. That's unimportant but setting the film in Reno Nevada, a casino town, is not.
 
All the characters are true to the place in which we find them, the key to a believable film. The film flows through unexpected turns into an enjoyable noir flick, one of those that didn't even get a release to cinema in Britain.
 
Sydney is the main player. His character is double edged being both well manered and tough. He helps a guy (John) down on his luck and takes him to Reno to show how its possible for someone to get free room and board by pretending to be a big slot player. After success in the casino Sydney introduces John to people who can give him work. John experiences better fortune and begins to relax.

Its here that John begins to meet people who can distract him and lead him astray. Sydney is there to help when things get tough. More details would give the film away so see for yourself.
 
Marks : 8/10
Director Paul Thomas Anderson Philip Baker Hall Sydney
Writing Paul Thomas Anderson John C. Reilly John Finnegan
Cinematography Robert Elswit Gwyneth Paltrow Clementine 'Clem'
    Samuel L. Jackson Jimmy
    Philip Seymour Hoffman Young Craps Player
 
 
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