Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Hustler

Before reading this review, please be aware of the fact that for a multitude of reasons I skipped a good twenty minutes of the movie.
This film is widely known as a classic, and with the cast put together, Paul Newman, George C. Scott, Piper Laurie and Jackie Gleason, its not hard to see.
However, aside from the pool scenes, I found it hard to get into this movie. Although it ran over two hours, I wondered about the depth. At certain times the movie screamed its points at you, at other times it tried to be too subtle. I found it hard to root for Paul Newman's character, the only admirable character in this movie was Minnesota Fats. I know it was a heroes fall type of movie going in as well as a brooding portrayal of hustling, and we are supposed to be rooting for Paul Newman at the end, but the brashness, the boldness and arrogance of his character didn't lead to me rooting for him. I liked the stoicness of Minnesota Fats and the brutal honesty of George C. Scott's character.
This is one of those movies, like a classic book, that is best read or viewed once, and let that be it. I don't feel it renders multiple viewings. The performances were all outstanding and Newman did far more with the character than the script gave him. Good movie, but not the spellbinding classic I was anticipating.

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