The Cooler (2003)
Genre: Drama Romance Comedy
Directed By: Wayne Cramer (Running Scared)
Overview: A man whose job is to infect his bad luck in lucky gamblers find lady luck shining on him when he falls in love.
Acting: The cast is all pro, Alec Baldwin and William H. Macy don't seem to need much direction to give their own blend of emotion and personality into the scenes. Lots of daring nude scenes, and the actors really didn't seem uncomfortable, a very natural performance.
Cinematography: The crane shots of Vegas and the casino itself was not as panoramic as I had expected, but it was professional nonetheless and they did a decent job of zooming in on the dice when it mattered for drama's sake. As for the single X-ray vision effect of the cheating loaded dice swap, I was unimpressed.
Script: The writing had a touch of film noir without being cliché, and a touch of naiveté without being stupid. It fit the mood very well, but nothing worth mentioning.
Plot: The plot was decent, once you accept the paradigm: Luck can emanate from the unlucky. Very much the same idea of a plot as Intacto, but more of a mutable thing. The end is real nice tough a touch melodramatic.
Mood: The mood was all Vegas and dice, and if you like the film noir underworld touch it'll suit you. Cheats meet honour at the same table and both try to win the same pot, so to speak. This isn't a gambling movie in the Rounders sense of the word, since the main characters are employees and owners of a casino, but it carries enough of the drama to keep you watching.
Aftertaste: The movie was pretty rote. The acting was really great and all, but the lack of inspiration will never make it into anyone's Top Ten repertoire films. This was literally one of those Saturday afternoon nothing-better-to-do's; a movie that I was mildly interested in, had the play button pushed, and its effect is fading pretty quickly.