Hard Eight

Watch Hard Eight

"When good luck is a long shot, you have to hedge your bets."
  • R
  • 1997
  • 1 hr 42 min
  • 7.1  (54,843)
  • 78

The neo-noir drama film Hard Eight, which was released in 1996, stars Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, and Gwyneth Paltrow. The film was the directorial debut of renowned filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, who went on to direct acclaimed films such as Boogie Nights, Magnolia, and There Will Be Blood. Hard Eight follows the story of Sydney (Philip Baker Hall), an aging gambler who befriends John (John C. Reilly), a down-on-his-luck young man who is trying to get back on his feet. Sydney takes John under his wing and teaches him the ins and outs of the casino, and together they embark on a journey of gambling and self-discovery.

As John becomes more involved in the gambling world, he meets Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow), a beautiful and troubled young woman who is quick to take advantage of him. Sydney warns John about Clementine's potentially dangerous motives, and John must decide whether he can trust her or not.

The film is a character study that explores the complex relationships between the three main characters. Sydney is a mysterious and enigmatic figure, who takes pride in his ability to outsmart the casinos and make a living through gambling. John is a naïve and vulnerable young man, whose life takes unexpected turns as he becomes more involved with Sydney and Clementine. Clementine, on the other hand, is a lost soul who is looking for direction and purpose in life, and she sees John as a potential way out of her troubled existence.

The film is set in Reno and Las Vegas, two cities that are synonymous with gambling and excess. The glitzy and glamorous world of the casinos serves as a backdrop for the story, but the film does not glamorize gambling. Instead, it portrays the harsh realities of addiction and the destructive nature of greed.

The performances in the film are exceptional, with Philip Baker Hall delivering a standout performance as Sydney. He brings a quiet intensity to the role, and his character's wisdom and experience make him a compelling figure to watch. John C. Reilly is also excellent as John, bringing a vulnerability to the part that makes the character both sympathetic and relatable. Gwyneth Paltrow is equally impressive as Clementine, conveying the character's inner turmoil and desperation with nuance and depth.

The cinematography in the film is also noteworthy, with Anderson using a minimalist approach that emphasizes the starkness and emptiness of the casinos. The score, which was composed by Jon Brion, adds to the film's moody and atmospheric tone.

Overall, Hard Eight is a compelling and thought-provoking film that explores the themes of mortality, regret, and redemption. Anderson's directorial debut is an impressive achievement, and it served as a launching pad for his prolific career in filmmaking. The film's strong performances, intelligent script, and visual style make it an underrated gem that deserves more recognition.

Hard Eight is a 1997 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 42 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1 and a MetaScore of 78.

Hard Eight
Where to Watch Hard Eight
Hard Eight is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Hard Eight for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 42 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (54,843)
  • Metascore