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United Kingdom 1998
Directed by
Mike Hodges
91 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars


Just as his best-known film, Get Carter (1971) was a very British take on the revenge thriller so Mike Hodges's Croupier displays a characteristic British understatement that distinguishes this casino thriller from its brasher American cousins. Hodges takes Paul Mayersberg‘s articulate, engaging noir-ish script and keeps the visualisations economical and realistic with well-paced tension in the twisting and turning storyline.

Clive Owen plays Jack Manfred, an unpublished writer but also a wizard at the gaming table who is turning his experience at a mid-range casino (this is London not Las Vegas) into a novel. One of the reasons that Jack is a good dealer is that he doesn't gamble but he allows himself to be seduced by one of his customers, Jani (Alex Kingston), who with her compatriots have a plan to rob the casino and they want Jack to be their man on the inside.

Whilst it is not easy to reconcile Jack’s emotional coldness in his response to the fate of his pushy girlfriend, Marion (Gina McKee), with his essentially-decent-guy nature, Croupier is designed as entertainment, not a psychology lesson, and in that respect it fills its genre brief well.




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