Monday, January 2, 2012

The Color of Money

25 years following his banishment from big time pool, "Fast Eddie" Felson has found success as a liquor salesman, while staking small time sharks on the side. One day he sees a kid who has what it takes, a shadow of his former self, and convinces him and his girlfriend to go on a cross country tour of pool halls, learning the tricks of the trade, with all roads leading to a championship tournament in Atlantic City. Following the 1961 classic "The Hustler", Martin Scorsese directed "The Color of Money", the film that won Paul Newman his long overdue Academy Award. Newman's performance doesn't miss a beat and is as natural as any in his career while Tom Cruise shines in an under appreciated performance. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio delivers fine work as Cruise's insatiate girlfriend. I liked how Scorsese worked from Walter Tevis' similarly delayed sequel to his original novel, and his direction is refined and unrelenting, almost to the point of overdirection. I also found the latter parts of the movie (the tournament) to be less compelling than the set-up, but "The Color of Money" is a worthy sequel made with reverence to an undeniable classic.