• The first image is brilliant—the perfect framing of Philip Baker Hall’s shadow on the far right with Jack’s Coffee Shop—stunning—the ending is strong as well but we really never hit this high again
a jaw-dropper first image using architecture here
  • Aging gambler looking to connect younger coupe (first of many protégé’s in PT’s oeuvre) is Melville’s Bob le Flambeur and PT has admitted as much
  • Jon Brion’s moody jazz score is strong- especially the chime he uses at the beginning- we’d see it again in their collaboration in Boogie Nights
  • It’s Philip Baker Hall’s shining hour as an actor- knowledge and confidence- he’s seen the world—totally believable
  • Production design highlight of Baker Hall’s booth at the casino when Paltrow comes to take his order
magnificent decor and production design here
  • Tracking shots taking Baker Hall through the Casino—another one going out of the hotel after the incident with John C. Reilly
  • Background characterization—Baker Hall has a real life son and daughter he doesn’t see
  • Seymour Hoffman as the hot-head craps player
  • John C. Reilly so great at getting our sympathy—I think he cries three times here and it feels real
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excellent cast here- Philip Baker Hall, Paltrow, John C. Reilly, Samuel L. Jackson, a small scene with Phillip Seymour Hoffman
  • Great low-angle shot of the casino lights with Samuel L in the background
  • The finale— really well done with blood on the cuff of his nice suit and then he tries to hide the blood
  • Recommend