- 1 hr 34 min
Croupier is a 1998 British neo-noir movie created by screenwriter Paul Mayersberg and director Mike Hodges. The movie stars Clive Owen, Nick Reding, Nicholas Ball, Alex Kingston, and Kate Hardie. The movie is set in London and tells the story of a writer turned croupier who becomes involved with a woman who introduces him to an illegal deal which ends up endangering his life.
The lead character, Jack Manfred (Clive Owen), is a struggling writer who takes a job as a croupier to make ends meet while he tries to get his literary career off the ground. Working at one of the many casinos in London's West End, Jack soon becomes an expert in the art of gambling and how to cheat it. He also becomes a detached observer of the players, many of whom are in the grip of an addictive vice.
The casino atmosphere and the people he meets there provide Jack with inspiration for his writing, and he begins to incorporate his experiences into his work. It is not long before his life begins to resemble the fiction he is writing. During a break from his job at the casino, Jack clashes with Bella (Kate Hardie), a waitress he was romantically involved with in the past. Shortly after, Marion (Gina McKee), Jack's girlfriend, leaves him. Later, Marion decides to come back to Jack, but he refuses her offer, so she leaves forever.
Meanwhile, Jack becomes involved with Jani (Alex Kingston), who intriguingly explores her dark side by introducing him to his illegal deals. Jani offers Jack a place at a lucrative and sinister deal with two wealthy players who have a desire for high-risk games. Jack initially declines the offer, but he soon finds himself lured into the seductive world of risk and deceit.
Things quickly go awry when one of the wealthy players, De Niro (Nick Reding), turns out to be far more dangerous than he appears, and Jack finds himself in over his head. The actions of De Niro and his associates soon threaten to put Jack's life in danger, and he must find a way to extricate himself from the situation before it's too late.
The film sets its tone as a gritty, neo-noir drama that follows the life of an intelligent and intriguing character, Jack. The narrative is narrated by Jack, which can be likened to a book's storytelling approach where the protagonist serves as the narrator.
The way Jack is introduced is rather captivating, as the croupier lifestyle fits the neo-noir genre setting. The stylish background score from Simon Fisher Turner adds volume and nuances to the already well-crafted atmosphere.
The film's setting gives off a dreary, melancholic feel, showcasing London's gritty side in contrast to modern establishments where the wealthy congregate. Director Mike Hodges's direction gives the viewer a voyeuristic view of the protagonist's life, making their journey all the more intriguing.
The performances, particularly from Clive Owen, are thoroughly convincing – Owen plays Jack Manfred with such ease that it immediately draws you in from the get-go. The subtext of Jack's character is versatile and striking, and one can easily relate to the downward spiral of his life. Owen is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to capturing his character's emotional journey.
In conclusion, Croupier is an intense, fascinating, and gripping neo-noir film that entices viewers with its dark and gritty world. The movie's characters, imagery, and storytelling devices bring the movie to life in a way that keeps viewers hooked from beginning to end. Clive Owen delivers a compelling performance that makes this movie a must-watch.
Croupier is a 1998 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 34 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.0 and a MetaScore of 75.