Starring: Clive Owen,
Kate Hardie and Alex Kingston
by: Mike Hodges
speaking? Now that Mr. Clive Owen's a Hollywood darling - bet you're looking
for his pre-Arthur/Closer work...here's a Grade A example of why Clive
Owen is like man heroin. At first he's passably edible, with his cute little Clash
hat and suspenders. As the story progresses, you remember the unwritten British
rule...if you name your male child, Nigel, Keith or Clive when introducing them
to the world, the they will inevitably grow to be distinctly handsome.
Or so it seems to me anyway.
story goes...Jack Manfred (Clive "allo, allo" Owen) is a struggling
writer. He's got the block. He's also broke, natch. His father, a sneaky sort,
gets him a job in a middle swank casino. Jack's no stranger to the casino they
let us know. Soon he's pet dealer with the pit boss.
he slips back into the role of master croupier (a fancy word meaning a games dealer
in a casino), he also begins a novel. As he becomes more entangled in the seedy
side of casino employ, so does his "character" in the novel, Jake. They
are one in the same really, an autobiography of sorts.
Jack's over excusing girlfriend Marion is getting unhappy. Jack's coming home
late, drunk and cheating. But it's only when he may be incahoots with criminals
she actually gets a spine and confronts him. Bimbo. Though he is, as I
mentioned, man heroin.
until then they are both straight arrows. She's a store Dick, and he a croupier
that doesn't gamble. However, Jack, for reasons of a hate for public transport-he
wants a car- agrees to help sexy punter (casino lingo for for player) Jani de
Villiers ( Alex "I slept with Ralph Fiennes" Kingston). She' in trouble
with her debtors. So, by pretending to catch a staged cheat that will cause a
great diversion and thusly allow robbers in unnoticed, Jack can score some pocket
money and a great story line for his novel. Yeah, it's illegal.
they get away with it?
Can't tell you that. I can tell you the whole cast is going to be on iron
lungs later on in life. Smoke City! I'm just guessing a big financier of
this movie had Reynolds or Raleigh on their company letterhead. Everyone but the
cat smoked - heavy. At one point I actually laughed out loud. Jack is talking
with a cigarette in his left lip. Cut to: Dad talking with a cigarette
in his left lip. Volley back and forth a few times. Cut to: Casino
mate with cigarette in left side of lip! This kind of thing goes on for
at least thirteen scenes- or half the movie. The humor was not lost on me, I'll
tell you. Not to mention the subliminal message; I immediately stopped
and got cigarettes after the movie.
Clive Owen fellow, cigarette breath or not, is a double order of shepherds pie
with a side of slow roasted grade A man meat. He's calming and sexual. Strong
and mesmerizing. Yum-o-rama central girls. An eye is to be firmly fixed upon this
bright young studly star...
ladies in the movie-and he's got plenty vying for his attentions- are attractive
yet pleasantly real looking. Lot's of booby shots to keep the boys happy.
only complaint is Croupier is not a fast film. I nearly nodded off twice.
But, it is well done and great for a lazy day at the movies. Perhaps after all
the explosions and special effects my brain has engulfed recently I've been tainted.
The ending was surprising but not particularly thrilling. The characters felt
real if not electrifying. Still this is very much recommended.
recommendation: Vodka on the rocks straight up, it's what Jack would like...