Hard Eight (1996)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama


Hard Eight (1996) Poster

Professional gambler Sydney teaches John the tricks of the trade. John does well until he falls for cocktail waitress Clementine.


7.2/10
39,262

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  • Philip Baker Hall in Hard Eight (1996)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow in Hard Eight (1996)
  • Philip Baker Hall in Hard Eight (1996)
  • Gwyneth Paltrow in Hard Eight (1996)
  • Philip Baker Hall in Hard Eight (1996)
  • Samuel L. Jackson in Hard Eight (1996)

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26 August 2002 | Julia2
9
| Beautiful!
Philip Baker Hall's Sidney kept me riveted from the first scene to the last. He play the mesmerizing, enigmatic title character with rare mastery and grace. The supporting characters are no slouches either. John C. Reilly is marvelous as Sidney's sweet, if somewhat slow witted protege. Samuel Jackson could have easily coasted on this one, simply repeating a performance from any of a number of previous tough guy types. Instead he creates an entirely new character, one with a reptilian quality not seen in his usual thugs. Even Gwenyth Paltrow is unusually strong as Clem, the waitress who wants it understood that, even if she sometimes sleeps with men for money, she is definitely NOT a prostitute.

I've been a fan of PT Anderson for a while now, and this film gave me new insight into why it is I like him so much. Anderson is that great rarity in modern filmmaking, an actor's director. He gathers terrific actors and inspires them to career-topping performances. There's no fiendishly complex plot here, no nailbiting suspense, no big payoff at the end. Just marvelous actors making the most of an excellent script.

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