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Croupier ★★★ 1997

Director Hodges scored a hit with the 1971 British crime thriller “Get Carter.” And after some rocky followups, he scores another with this cool casino neo-noir. A cynical South African, now living in London, Jack Manfred (Owen) is trying to escape the reach of his con man dad. The would-be writer (his detective character Jake does the film's narrative) takes a job as a casino dealer where he can observe life at his preferred distance—that is until a fellow South African, sulty gambling beauty Jani (Kingston), talks him into a shady scheme that provides fodder for Jack's writing. Owen is especially watchable in the title role. 91m/C VHS, DVD . GB Clive Owen, Alex Kingston, Kate Hardie, Gina McKee, Nicholas Ball, Nick Reding; D: Mike Hodges; W: Paul Mayers-berg; C: Mike Garfath; M: Simon Fisher Turner.

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