Director: Mike Hodges
Year Released: 1998
Somewhat De Palmaseque in construction: a novelist with experience as a croupier writes story of a person much like himself who gets involved with women in debt and dangerous, 'hidden' bad guys, and comes up with the woozy 'twists' in the story as the movie moves along. In this way it becomes a critique of sorts of writing (hackneyed setups, pretentious narration, philosophical malarkey), the novelist's temptation to veer towards autobiography and the publishing business in general (the publisher himself says that the famous are those who sell books - arty 'nobodies' don't get anywhere) - to assume it's simply about this single man who works for a casino and his involvement with a wide assortment of people is missing a potential bigger picture. Clive Owen's cocksure grin suggests something is certainly up - even as 'bad novel theatre,' it teaches you a few things about gambling (like Paul Thomas Anderson's Hard Eight). As a book, well, I wouldn't bother reading it, of course....