Friday, March 14, 2014

1996 - HARD EIGHT, a good study of some low life characters

This a decent little drama about gamblers getting by in Reno.  The director/writer Paul Thomas Anderson has made a film that is essentially about four characters and their interactions with each other.

Philip Baker Hall is the old guy who's been around a while and knows all the tricks.  John C. Reilly is his pretty dense protegee.  Samuel L. Jackson is some sleeze ball who knows Reilly.  Finally, Gwyneth Paltrow is the cocktail waitress/hooker who Reilly falls for.  All of the cast is very good and it was kind of nice to see Paltrow play a character who wears too much makeup and isn't very smart. 

I have to give the director/writer Paul Thomas Anderson credit, he could have fallen for the colored light eye candy of the casino setting but he manages to control himself and focus on the actors.

It's nice to watch a film where the story moves along because of the characters instead of being held hostage by elaborate action pieces for a change.

102 minutes.

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