Blu-ray Review: Croupier

CroupierBluSTUDIO: Hen’s Tooth | DIRECTOR: Mike Hodges | CAST: Clive Owen, Alex Kingston, Gina McKee, Kate Hardie, Nicholas Ball
RELEASE DATE: 11/3/15 | PRICE: DVD $19.95, Blu-ray $24.95
BONUSES: none
SPECS: NR | 95 min. | Crime drama | 1.78:1 widescreen | stereo | English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  | Audio  | Video  | Overall

 

In the 1998 British crime drama Croupier, Clive Owen (Trust) stars as Jack Manfred, a reformed gambler who has left his life in South Africa to escape his to try his luck as a writer. Desperate for cash, he takes a job dealing blackjack in a London casino, a gig his elusive father (Nicholas Ball), who is also a gambler, sets up for him. As Jack falls back in love with the casino world, he realizes his new job is prime fodder for a novel and he begins to narrate his own story.

Clive Owen in Croupier

Clive Owen in Croupier

Priding himself as straight and honest dealer, Jack may no longer gamble at the table, but he certainly begins making many high stake bets in his life.  He is quickly drawn into the dark underworld of cheats and criminals, a world that threatens his relationship with his longtime girlfriend (Gina McKee, TV’s The Borgias). In true noir fashion, Jack’s chance encounter with a seductive gambler (Alex Kingston, Like Crazy) leads him further into trouble as she lures him into a dangerous scheme to rob the casino where he works. Will he be able to write an ending that lets him cash in winning chips, or are the odds stacked against him?

One of the movies that helped to break Owen this side of the Atlantic, Croupier is a nice find for fans of the man who probably missed it during its limited theatrical run in the late Nineties. The film’s re-issue on DVD—and premiere on Blu-ray—is timed perfectly as Owen is rightly receiving praise for his turn on The Knick, which has just kicked off its second season. Owen is the reason the film works and holds the viewers interest—he portrays Jack with a crisp, cool reserve that works perfectly for the character.

Veteran director Mike Hodges (Get Carter) does a realistic job setting a detailed stage of life in a casino. Though the action falters a bit in the second act, a clever and unexpected ending provides a nice payoff.

The film has a polished look on Blu-ray and there are no bonus features, which isn’t a surprise for a smaller title release over 15 years old.  Placing a bet on Croupier won’t bring a huge pay off but you’ll certainly break even and that ain’t bad.

 

Buy or Rent Croupier
Amazon graphicDVD | Blu-rayMovies Unlimited graphicNetflix graphicBlu-ray, DVD Release: Croupier

About Kitty Foyle

Kitty Foyle takes her name from the Ginger Rogers film, the one which won her an Oscar, and that was all it took to make her a movie lover. Ms. Foyle is excited to add her insights to the great team at DishDisc.com.