This debut film by Paul Thomas Anderson is a crime drama about the gambling business and simultaneously a portrait of another side of America, where even the day-and-night lights of Las Vegas—a huge casino where no one keeps track of time—do not abolish the feeling of loneliness and loss and the desperate attempts to win at least a moment of happiness in the lottery, which in fact is our life. Starring John S. Riley, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Sidney is an experienced casino player who knows how to win a big jackpot. One day he meets a penniless John who is trying to raise money for his mother's funeral, and takes him on as his apprentice. Very quickly, John becomes his partner and together they conquer one casino after another. However, their win-win scheme and personal relationships begin to fail when John falls in love with a waitress Clementine. In his first film, Paul Thomas Anderson tells the story of rise and crushing fall of the "American Dream", as if it is seen from the smoky alleys of American bars, motels, car parks, casinos, and diners, inhabited by its homeless and explosive characters. The picture premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1996.
Director Paul Thomas Anderson
USA, 1996, 102 minutes, 18+