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USA 1980
Directed by
Louis Malle
100 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Atlantic City

Like Schlesinger's New York in Midnight Cowboy (1968), or Polanski's Los Angeles in Chinatown (1974) Louis Malle's Atlantic City is very much a metonym for the central theme of his film which is about faded glory and changing times.

Burt Lancaster plays an elderly lackey on the fringes of the crime world who dreams of Prohibition days when Atlantic City was alive with ""flou flou""and, at least in his imagination, he was a player in it. In an attempt to get to know his next-door neighbour (Susan Sarandon) he gets involved with the Philly mob and is finally offered the opportunity to play the kind of big shot hoodlum that hitherto had only been his idle fantasy. With a richly textured script by John Guare and wonderful performances by Lancaster and Sarandon, not to mention the rest of the cast, Malle's empathetic direction and the adept use of music, Atlantic City has a sense of dignified bitter-sweet charm that makes for rewarding viewing and earnt the film a raft of well-deserved awards including the Golden Lion at Venice and a BAFTA for Malle's direction.

DVD Extras: Original theatrical trailer.

Available from: Madman




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