Hard Eight

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Released 1999

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Movie Summary

Director:
Paul Thomas Anderson
Released:
1999
Rating:
R
Hard Eight is a 1996 film about a group of gamblers trying to find happiness in a dreary world. John (John C. Reilly) is sitting outside of a diner when he is approached by an older man named Sydney (Philip Baker Hall). After some small talk, Sydney learns that John is trying to raise money so that he can give his mother a proper burial. Sydney offers to drive John to Las Vegas and teach him how to gamble and make money. Several years suddenly pass, and we learn that John has become an excellent gambler under Sydney's tutelage. John eventually meets a beautiful prostitute named Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow), but the relationship brings mostly sorrow into John's life. At the same time, one of John's new friends, Jimmy (Samuel L. Jackson) brings further trouble into John's life. As John and Clementine try to escape from their desperate lives and find some peace, Sydney tries to tie up all the loose ends so that John never learns the truth about why they originally met.moreless

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Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Los Angeles Times John Anderson

    Anderson, who makes as impressive a directing debut as has been seen in some time, creates a perfectly modulated mystery that doesn't even feel like one. It's a character play, and...

  • 90

    Variety Joe Leydon

    Four excellent lead performances, vividly evoked ambience and a masterfully sustained mood of quiet desperation mark Sydney as an impressive piece of work.

  • 80

    The New York Times Stephen Holden

    The role of Jimmy is one of Mr. Jackson's scarier characters, and this brilliant actor inhabits all four corners of his jittery, avaricious personality. When he and Sydney finally ...

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    Categories

    Drama

    Themes

    Thrillers, Crime