Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1986. Touchstone Pictures, Silver Screen Partners II. Screenplay by Richard Price, based on the novel by Walter Tevis. Cinematography by Michael Ballhaus. Produced by Irving Axelrad, Barbara De Fina. Music by Robbie Robertson. Production Design by Boris Leven. Costume Design by Richard Bruno. Film Editing by Thelma Schoonmaker. Academy Awards 1986. Golden Globe Awards 1986. National Board of Review Awards 1986. New York Film Critics Awards 1986.
The Hustler‘s “Fast” Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) is now older and not much into the game of pool, but has the fire of inspiration ignited in him when he sees a young kid named Vincent (Tom Cruise) play the game like the genius he used to be. Taking him under his wing, Felson coaches Vincent on how to be a hustler and make a living off the game, but it isn’t long before the young man’s snotty self-confidence get in the way. Thankfully, Vincent’s lovely girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, in her first notable performance) is around to keep things from getting out of hand, but in the end it’s all between these two men and their conflicting interplay. Beautifully shot in smoky pool halls and low-lit bars, this Martin Scorsese film is a great character study and marvelous opportunity for the magnificent Newman to show off his dexterous skill as an actor.