Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Hustler


Dir: Robert Rossen (All the King's Men)

Paul Newman is a pool shark who learns a lesson or two from life in this powerful drama. Another movie genre that I am a sucker for, down on their luck vagabonds trying to eek out a life and face their internal demons in seedy bars and cheap motel rooms. The performances are universally outstanding and the direction top notch. The script may suffer from a trifle too much cliche, but the film is no doubt hurt in my mind by the hundreds of derivative rip offs that sprung from it. Even Kingpin lifts half of its plot from the Hustler.

The revelation in the film is Piper Laurie. Her role is so cold that the few moments of true warmth are understated and heartbreaking. She is truly one of the most underrated actresses, having done lots of television work.

Look, this is yet another must see before you die films. But bump it to the front of the cue if you go in for these down and stories like I do.