Croupier (2000)

CROUPIER, one of the recent art-house releases that I haven't been 
remiss in not missing, is a lower-budget, crappily sound-recorded, 
and dramatically flat-chested British film about a writing-blocked 
writer (Clive Owen) who takes a job at a London casino and finds 
both inspiration and real-life adventure.  He's hired as a dealer, 
or "croupier" as they're called.  He's also an *experienced* card-
cutter, from his early days in Cape Town, so he's a hit from hand 
one.  He's also the film's narrator, narrating in the third person 
as if a character in a mystery novel.  Which he sorta is, since he's 
basing his newfound novel on his newfound experiences.  (Things get 
murkier when he starts *acting* like he's that character!)  Alas, 
these third-person comments are nearly universally annoying, due to 
both Owen's relentless monotone (see also: poker-faced performance, 
ha!) and their distracting interjection into the middle of dialogue 
exchanges.  (Doesn't help, either, that only 75% of what anyone says 
is understandable.)  The story pretty much sucks, as well.  Once the
novelty of casino living fades--  we're given more of a glimpse than 
a guided-tour-- the various plot points barely excite.  (Maybe if O-
wen's character showed some excitement, then *we* would feel some!)
Things pick up a bit at the end, when a mystery woman involves our 
hero in a heist.  (She's a cutie!)  Entire scenes actually come to 
life; others, alas, are almost laughably obtuse.  Oh well.  Least I 
have a new definition of foreplay, from the love scene with the lady 
dealer.  I'll try that this weekend...  With Gina McKee, Alex King-
ston, Kate Hardie, Nicholas Ball, and Nick Reding.  Mike Hodges di-
rects from a script by Paul Mayersberg.  (Rated "R"/91 min.)

Grade: C

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Case of the Croup

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros