Friday, January 27, 2012


  In 1997, Hard Eight brought a fresh look to film noir with rich lighting, crisp dialog, a classic femme fatale and wonderful acting with Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly and Gwyneth Paltrow. And Samuel L. Jackson, doing what he does best. 

  I almost forgot how beautiful the interior shooting is until I watched this scene again on YouTube.  Philip Baker Hall, the fixer, walks through a casino in a long tracking shot past neon striped bars, below the blinking lights, gliding past regulars locked into crap tables and roulette wheels. Hall strips down his work to simple actions, patting his lapel after buttoning his coat, his stride and confidence underscoring a feeling of danger and the perils of a casino night. 
  The music, a clean shimmering vibraphone. 
  No dialog. Hall takes us there. 
  I want a drink, a cigarette, and Gwyneth Paltrow to serve it to me. 
 Noir is inevitability, demons forcing bad choices, guns, booze, sex, cold liquor over crushed ice. Smoky, sweaty, greased palms, big, tinted hair. 
 This is it. Hard Eight
 Are you ready?  Maybe you're already there.

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