Saturday, April 30, 2011

Atlantic City

(Louis Malle, 1980)
Set in America, director's French, and in spite of the secondary casting (Al Waxman as a cokehead! Moses Znaimer as a thug!! Bob Goulet as himself!!!) the judicious sprinkling of the word "Saskatchewan" calls to mind not the Capital Cost Allowance but the Canadian Cooperation Agreement. (cf. Pierre Berton, "Hollywood's Canada"). Spiritually, this isn't a Canadian movie, it's just a movie. A really, really good movie. 31 flavors of 'loser' wander the seaboard in the days when Atlantic City still had some character left to lose - what a bizarre, chaotic place this was, and the lament against elephantitis is all the more poignant with hindsight. Anyway, the movie is about the complicated struggle of these people to get by in this place, and all are viewed with compassion and (distanced) sympathy - even the thugs. When you're supposed to laugh you laugh, when there's supposed to be tension or excitement you feel it, this thing holds your attention. If this isn't Lancaster and Sarandon at their very best then please tell me where to find better.

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