Movie Reviews (such as they are)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Music of Chance

I picked up The Music of Chance at Sainsbury's for 99p (that's US$1.87 or C$2.07). Is that a fucking bargain, or what? Okay, it has no extras or subtitles or anything, and the film is framed at 4:3, but maybe it was made for cable TV. Still, at less than a quid, you can't complain too much.

The plot: A blood-spattered James Spader is picked up by passing motorist Mandy Patinkin. Spader explains he was beaten by poker players who believed he'd ripped them off. He goes on to tell Patinkin that he has a big game coming up tomorrow that he is bound to win but now he has no money. Patinkin offers to fund him. But the game they arrive at the following day is a game of cat and mouse just as much as it is one of poker.

The review: I expected very little of this movie, despite it being based on a novel by Paul Auster. To be honest, I'd tried watching it once years ago but got bored very early on. This time, I was more ready for it. It's a slow burner, and the story is thin, frankly, but the acting by the four or five main players is superb. Mandy Patinkin is so young (and so well toned) in this film it's quite astonishing. And he even gets to sing the wonderful "Jerusalem" in his incredibly distinctive voice. It's almost worth watching just for that. The ending was a little disappointing, but I guess it couldn't go anywhere else, really.

The score: I give this film 62 points out of 100.