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Croupier is a 1998 British neo-noir film directed by Mike Hodges and starring Clive Owen. The film attracted a strong critical following in North America and helped to launch Owen's acting career there. It uses interior monologues in the style of many early noir detective films.
Croupier DVD cover
|Directed by||Mike Hodges|
|Produced by||Jonathan Cavendish|
|Written by||Paul Mayersberg|
|Music by||Simon Fisher-Turner|
|Edited by||Les Healey|
Jack Manfred (Clive Owen) is an aspiring writer going nowhere fast. To make ends meet and against his better judgment, he takes a job as a croupier. The interview was set up by his father, a small-time hustler back home in South Africa.
Jack finds himself drawn into the casino world, and the job gradually takes over his life. He goes drinking with Matt (Paul Reynolds), a croupier who he knows is cheating the casino. He sleeps with a fellow croupier named Bella (Kate Hardie) in contravention of casino policy. His relationship with girlfriend Marion (Gina McKee) begins to deteriorate when he lets her read part of his book about a cold, unfeeling croupier who enjoys seeing gamblers lose — a character transparently based on Jack himself. Bella confronts Jack at his apartment, accuses him of getting her fired and tells Marion about the one-night stand.
One gambler, Jani (Alex Kingston), tries to befriend Jack — another serious violation of casino rules. Jani shows him bruises saying she got them from gambling creditors and asks Jack to be the inside man for a planned robbery at the casino. All he has to do is raise the alarm when a gambler cheats at his table. Jack eventually agrees and accepts a £10,000 advance with an additional £10,000 if all goes well. In doing so, Jack notices that Jani's injuries were faked.
Marion reconciles with Jack but discovers that he is involved in something criminal and tries to foil it. On the night of the robbery, Jack raises the alarm anyway and gets beaten by the gambler as a distraction while others try to grab the money. They fail, and Jack and Marion have an argument but she stays with him.
When a late-night knock at the door comes, Jack assumes it to be the casino robbers demanding the return of their advance money. Instead, it is a policeman, who informs him that Marion has been killed in an apparent hit-and-run.
Jack finishes his book and gets it published anonymously. It is a big success, but he doesn't change anything about his life, continuing to work as a croupier and live in his basement flat, not even buying the new car he wanted.
Jack goes on with his life and gets another call, this one from Jani, who congratulates him on playing his part in the attempted robbery and implies that she benefited significantly. Then she puts his father on the phone, and he implies that he set up the croupier job for Jack in order to arrange for the attempted robbery, and he benefited as well.
Stunned but amused, Jack hangs up. Just then, Bella appears from the bedroom and kisses him.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gave Croupier a 96% positive rating based on 57 reviews, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The writer slumming for human truths and real experience is a common enough story, but this cool-headed and slick thriller provides a gut-churningly compelling backdrop to a look at our darker sides." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 75 out of 100, based on 28 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Critic Roger Ebert gave the film three stars, remarking that the point of the film was not the plot, but the atmosphere and characterization. He also lauded the realistic depiction of the casino itself. Stephen Holden in The New York Times called the movie, "a breezy meditation on life as a game of chance".
The film grossed $7,075,068 at the box office.
- Goldstein, Patrick (14 November 2000). "An Oscar for Croupier Doesn't Seem in the Cards". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 9 January 2019.
- Ellison, Michael (9 June 2000). "When the chips are down". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
- "Croupier (2000)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- "Croupier Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- Ebert, Roger (21 April 2000). "Croupier". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- Holden, Stephen (21 April 2000). "FILM REVIEW; Born for Gambling, in a Casino and Metaphysically". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
- "Croupier (2000)". Box Office Mojo. 28 August 2002. Retrieved 8 May 2013.
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