Friday, 3 December 2010

The Color of Money

Year: 1986
Director: Martin Scorsese
Screenplay: Richard Price, based on the novel by Walter Tevis
Starring: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, John Turturro
Running Time: 119 minutes
Genre: Sports, drama

Summary: New York City. "Fast" Eddie Felson (Newman) was once a successful professional pool hustler (basically a player who pretends to be less skilled then they actually are for the purpose of luring a less skilled player into playing against them for money), but he now sells liquor, although he still misses the excitement of his former career, and sometimes puts up some of the stake money for other hustlers. One night he meets Vincent (Cruise), a volatile but very talented pool player, and Vincent's shrewd girlfriend Carmen (Mastrantonio). Eddie sees a chance both to make some money and also to recapture some of his glory days and takes Vincent under his wing, becoming his mentor as well as putting up some of the stake money for Vincent. However, Eddie's increasing frustration with Vincent's impetuousness and Carmen's scheming soon causes tension.

Opinions: This movie is a sequel to the classic 1959 movie The Hustler, which was also based on a Walter Tevis novel, with Paul Newman reprising his role as "Fast" Eddie Felson. However, the film only makes occasional very brief references to the events in the earlier movie. This movie marked Martin Scorsese's first foray into mainstream commercial film-making after a couple of financial flops, namely The King of Comedy (1983) and After Hours (1985). The commercial success of this film gave Scorsese the clout to make his long-cherished pet project The Last Temptation of Christ (1988).
Despite being a very mainstream film, it still features many of Scorsese's trademark stylisic flourishes and is very much a Martin Scorsese movie. The movie features impressive performances notably Paul Newman who is effortlessly cool as "Fast" Eddie and Tom Cruise's energetic performance as the wild Vincent. There are also appearances by rock star Iggy Pop, Forest Whitaker and Charles Scorsese (Martin Scorsese's dad). Martin Scorsese provides a brief voice-over at the start of the film explaining the rules of nine-ball pool. It also features a snappy screenplay from novelist and screenwriter Richard Price and a typically cool and eclectic soundtrack.
While the film is not the classic that The Hustler it is still a good film in it's own right and a worthy sequel.

Pool hall blues: Tom Cruise and Paul Newman in The Color of Money

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