Croupier: Mike Hodges Neo-Noir Crime Melodrama Starring Clive Owen

The neo noir melodrama, Croupier, is sort of a major comeback for director Mike Hodges, whose first film was the classic British thriller Get Carter, starring Michael Caine.

It also announces the arrival of a major talent and handsome actor, Clive Owen, in the meaty role of a man whose personal and professional loyalties are divided by his new career.

Owen plays Jack Manfred, a cocky, confident man who wants to be a writer.  But Jack’s long struggle to finish his first novel has landed him deep in debt.  As a result, his father (Nicholas Ball), small-time hustler back home in South Africa, gets him a job in a casino in London.

While Jack doesn’t gamble himself, he is a fast learner, boasts dexterity to be a good dealer. He’s soon making a tidy living as a dealer, despite the objections of his girlfriend, Marion (Gina McKee), who complains that his job takes him away from his true calling, writing.

Against the orders of his boss and rules of the place, Jack has a fling with Bella (Kate Hardie), another dealer at the casino, and allows himself to be seduced by one of his customers, Jani (Alex Kingston). However, it turns out that Jani wants more than sex from Jack; she and her compatriots have a plan to rob the casino and they want Jack to be their inside man.

The film became a sleeper after getting strong critical response and favorable word of mouth, resulting in an impressive gross for such a low-scale indie of over $7 million at the box-office.

There was outrage that the film–and Clive Owen–was disqualified from the Oscars, due to the fact that it had earlier played on Dutch TV.



Running time: 94 Minutes

Directed by Mike Hodges

Written by Paul Mayersberg