"Thus open the gates of paradise."

In this issue


06 Apr 2002

You could be on the way to visiting your personal nadir, but if you're dressed sharply, they will surely turn you away.

None of this has much to do with the film, although the Jack the Croupier, played by Clive Owen, does spend a lot of time in a tux. He's a man in love with his uniform. Actually, he's just doing a job to pay rent as he writes a book in fits and starts. He sees gambling and the division of who's on which side of the blackjack table as a metaphor for living. There are punters -- losers. They're on one side. And then there's Jack. He doesn't gamble, so he can never lose.

I think the thing that surprised me most about this film is the way that I've seen many of the actors elsewhere, but didn't even realize it. Take Gina McKee who plays Jack's girlfriend and landlord. Just in the last week, I saw her in "Wonderland" and in a still from "Women Talking Dirty" with Helena Bonham Carter. All through the film I was sitting there, wondering why she looked so familiar. Not until I had the full, overwhelming force of the internet behind me, was I able to put the pieces together. It's times like this I realize how finite parts of the world are.

The film is certainly worth a look, though its claims of being the best film of the year, or a "masterpiece" are a way overblown. The one bit of truth in advertising: Clive Owen does remind me of a young Sean Connery. Must be the tux.

Related Sites

Official Web Site
Croupier (IMDB)