Film: Atlantic City

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Film:

Atlantic City

Director: Louis Malle
Honors:
Genres:
Distributor: Paramount

Though set in America, this was directed by Frenchman Louis Malle, and the atmosphere is very European. An edgy character study of losers and would be winners, this was written by playwright John Guare.

Susan Sarandon’s sad-eyed appeal won her an Academy Award nomination for her role as a croupier hoping to learn the ropes and move on to the more glamorous casinos of Monte Carlo. Burt Lancaster, who was also nominated for an Oscar, turns in one of the most memorable performances of his career. As Lou, an aged two-bit hood, he brags about his flamboyant…

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Though set in America, this was directed by Frenchman Louis Malle, and the atmosphere is very European. An edgy character study of losers and would be winners, this was written by playwright John Guare.

Susan Sarandon’s sad-eyed appeal won her an Academy Award nomination for her role as a croupier hoping to learn the ropes and move on to the more glamorous casinos of Monte Carlo. Burt Lancaster, who was also nominated for an Oscar, turns in one of the most memorable performances of his career. As Lou, an aged two-bit hood, he brags about his flamboyant career, reveling in gangster chic that existed only in his mind. He discovers, sadly, that he is of more noble stock than he realized when he helps Sarandon’s character out of a mess involving her unsavory ex-husband and a drug sale.

The players are flawed, but richly drawn and believable. The humor is wry, and the story carries us along. This intelligent, adult entertainment is a kind of modern film noir, and as intriguing as it is well made. A Canadian and French production, this was first released abroad as Atlantic City, USA. —Rochelle O’Gorman

Atlantic City combines the poetry of French romance with the hard-boiled wit of American gangster films. Lou (Burt Lancaster) is an aged errand boy for the mob in Atlantic City whose life consists of watching the casinos of his youth demolished, caring for his former boss’s widow and dreaming about being the big shot he never was. That is, until he meets Sally (Susan Sarandon) whose personal life proves to be a heart-stopping wake-up call: her ex is back in town with her pregnant sister, a load of stolen cocaine and pack of killers trailing behind. When Lou gets involved he finds a chance for romance and redemption. With the creative coupling of director Louis Malle (Murmur of the Heart) and Broadway playwright John Guare (Six Degrees of Separation, it’s no surprise that Atlantic City has won a plethora of awards, including best picture, director and writer—making it a classic you won’t want to miss. —Lloyd Chesley

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