on 13 December 2000
By Scorsese's standards this film could be described as reletively unheard of. After all he has been responsible for directorial masterpieces such as Raging Bull, Taxi Driver and Goodfellas. Yet The Color of Money can also be cosidered a classic. The perfomance from Newman is stunning and Cruise gives, arguably, his best performance as Vincent a Pool protege to Newmans teacher as he returns to the role from the 1961 classic The Hustler, as Fast Eddie Felson, the original Pool Hustler. The story develops after Fast Eddie discovers Vincent, seeing his incredible talent for the game of pool. The aging former pool player takes Vincent under his wing in which Eddie takes him round his old haunts with Vincents girlfriend, Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) to teach him how to win and become the underdog, to culminate in the world championship in Atlantic city. Things However dont go to plan leading to the resurrection of Fast Eddies Pool playing ways. However the most interesting aspect of the film is that it is fantastically unpridictable as it changes direction at every moment, that never fails to suprise. With its slick camera angles excellent mood setting soundtrack and intrigueing ending, this is definately a must see movie.
on 7 July 2016
It's a brilliant movie with a tremendous performance from Paul Newman. I've given it one star because the visual quality of the blu ray is terrible, the worst I've seen, it looks like a murky old video tape, lots of digital noise and insipid colours, its also soft and lacks blacks or contrast, the quality of image is so bad that it becomes distracting and spoils the viewing experience. A movie like this deserves a much better treatment to bring it up to standard, not sure what has happened here but considering the director Martin Scorsese is a champion of film preservation and restoration makes me assume that he has had no input or control of this blu ray release of his own work because I think he would be horrified with this blu ray of his movie. I wished I'd just bought the DVD which is much cheaper and from online reviews is apparently no worse that the blu ray. Watch the film, its great, but don't bother with this blu ray, hopefully someone at Disney who released this will wake up and do something about it.
on 28 May 2004
In this movie's opening voiceover, director Martin Scorsese explains that nine-ball pool, as you've probably guessed, comes down to one basic rule: You don't win without pocketing the 9. Partially this depends on the balls' spread in the break; i.e. on luck. But, Scorsese concludes with the credo of all high-stakes hustlers from poker to pool and beyond: "For some players, luck itself is an art."
Once, Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) mastered this art; a whiz kid out to beat champion Minnesota Fats, he had to learn some painful lessons instead. But that was 25 years ago - in 1961's "Hustler," to which "The Color of Money" is a belated sequel - and now it's "dead and buried." Now Eddie is a liquor salesman; even if he's still got the hustle down cold: just listen to him philosophizing about a bourbon's color, age and acidic content and I'll lay you any bet you'll be buying a case from him in no time at all.
Yet, Eddie keeps hanging around pool halls, and one day the inevitable happens: He runs into Vincent (Tom Cruise), almost a reincarnation of his younger self; a guy with a sledgehammer break and an "incredible flake," as Eddie opines less than charitably, cocky beyond belief but apparently unaware of his potential, preferring to perfect his video game reflexes on the theory that this might get him into West Point, instead of focusing on his greatest and, more importantly, only financially viable area of expertise: pool. Now, if Eddie has learned one thing it's that whatever your field, it *all* comes down to money; and the guy who's got the most of it is the best. But to get there, you have to be more than just excellent at what you do: You have to be a student of psychology, learn to take advantage of others, understand when to lose is actually to win; and if you're a "natural character" like Vincent, you have to learn to "flake on and flake off" - to be yourself, but on purpose. In short, it takes the right proportion of both brains and b*lls to win big at pool. All this, Eddie is determined to teach Vince, even if it takes some support from his girlfriend Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) to get him going. But eventually they do set out on the road, for a six-week high-intensity training in hustles and cons, with their eyes set on a high-stakes nine-ball tournament in Atlantic City at the end. And Eddie, once exploited by a ruthless promoter himself, dispenses tough love; all to drive home one crucial lesson: "Nice guys finish last;" and mercy towards *any* opponent is downright unprofessional.
Vincent, Carmen and Eddie make an unequal trio; they collide as often and as hard as cue balls, and it's a sheer joy to see these outstanding actors go up against each other: Cruise as the cocky kid who refuses to drop his ego trips, Mastrantonio as his tough-talking girlfriend, and Newman as the seasoned pro who suddenly gets goose-bumpy again when entering a pool room (even if to his shame he finds the place now used for furniture storage), rediscovers that money won is "twice as sweet" as money earned, and at last gets hungry enough to get back into the game himself, albeit at the price of first being hustled by a kid with a dumb-fat-underdog routine (brilliantly played by Forest Whitaker). For Tom Cruise, who left a lasting impression with 1983's "Risky Business" but otherwise only had a few middling movies under his belt at this point, this was a great opportunity to show his chops opposite one of the business's all-time greats, and he was more than up to the task. (Although he shot to superstardom the same year with "Top Gun," even here virtually all of his trademark mannerisms and voice inflections - particularly when playing cocky - are already fully present.) Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio earned Oscar- and Golden-Globe-nominations for her portrayal of Carmen, who clues into Eddie's "pool is business" lessons quicker than Vince and, after a first-hand education on the use of "that thing," finds ways through Vincent's cockiness where Eddie doesn't have access. Paul Newman finally netted his long-overdue Academy Award; thus belatedly making up for the undeserved pass for "The Hustler," after the Academy had summarily sugarcoated a total of seven unfulfilled nominations - and numerous award-worthy appearances that didn't even earn that kind of nod - with a lifetime achievement award the year before. (Newman accepted, but wasn't present at either ceremony.)
What makes this movie stand out, however, is not merely its tremendous cast, from the central trio to Helen Shaver (Eddie's girlfriend Janelle), John Turturro (Julian, the "stake horse" Vincent replaces in Eddie's favor), Scorsese's dog Zoe (credited as "dog walkby"!), Iggy Pop, and several top pool players, e.g. Steve "The Miz" Mizerak, Jimmy "Pretty Boy Floyd" Mataya (together with wife Eva also technical advisor) and Keith McCready (Vincent's nemesis Grady Seasons). Moreover, nobody could have captured the pool halls' dingy allure, a trick shot's swift precision and the balls' movement over the table quite like Michael Ballhaus - there's a reason they call him "Hollywood's Eye." And then there's the score, by the "Band's" ringleader Robbie Robertson; featuring contributions from a virtual who-is-who of rock and blues's all time greatest, including Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Don Henley, Warren Zevon, Phil Collins, Robert Palmer and Percy Sledge; pointedly framing all key scenes and doubling the edge of the cue balls' and characters' collisions alike.
The movie's ending may appear anticlimactic, as the story seems to build up to a showdown which we never get to see. But for Eddie, it's ultimately about going up against Vince's best game - and the only thing that matters is that he's back, and there to stay for the duration this time. And no question: back he is.
on 29 March 2007
Following on from "The Hustler" 1961, Paul Newman re-creates his role as "Fast" Eddie Felson, who now appears to be a successful Liquor salesmen after being forced to give up active playing in the first movie. He know is found hanging around Pool Halls staking talented players rather than playing, by all accounts comfortable in terms of earnings and career.
Tom Cruise, playing shark Vincent Lauria, is scouted by Newman and they hit the road as he re-discovers his lost love of both Pool and hustling, gambling their way around the state towards the big tournament at Atlantic City. Felson sees himself in Cruises character, and teaches him the ropes on being a pool pro. One of the criticisms of this movie is that when asked about his pool playing days (I.e. The Hustler) Eddie replies "Actually I was retired. Sometimes you get involved with the wrong people. Way back West, it's dead and buried, I don't even think about it anymore", and that's just about the only link to it! One of the characters in the first movie makes an appearance however.
Creating Lauria into the best player, gives Eddie the platform to test himself against his best game, that is the message of the movie in my opinion. Felson creates his biggest adversary, and the movie explores that perhaps in life the biggest obstacles are ones that we create ourselves.
On a simple level it is good to see Tom Cruise, & Paul Newman in earlier roles.
on 29 September 2007
The more of his movies I see, the more I think that Paul Newman may be the best actor of modern times. Here he is Fast Eddie Felson, a well-off liquor salesman, a former pool hustler, was one of the best. As he explained to young Vincent (Tom Cruise, 23), "Money won is twice as sweet as money earned", and that is what this movie is about. Although by his own admission he "has quit", Eddie misses the action and sees an opportunity to get back in by teaching the hustling game to brash, fiery, and talented Vincent, when he witnesses Vincent demoralizing one of the hustlers by beating him so easily. But Vince is a tough case, he is so competitive that he can't lose for the sake of suckering in a mark. By Eddie's accounting, if you lose a few hundred then you might win a few thousand when other hustlers think you are an easy mark. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is Carmen, Vincent's girlfriend. Helen Shaver is Janelle, Eddie's girlfriend. Good movie, especially for Newman and Cruise.