Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Lancaster was as good as always but the story is really slow.
Sally Matthews (Susan Sarandon) is a young waitress in an Atlantic City casino who has dreams of becoming a blackjack dealer in Monte Carlo. Sally's estranged husband Dave (Robert Joy) returns to her one day with the intention of selling a large amount of cocaine that he had stolen in Philadelphia and meets Lou Pascal (Burt Lancaster), an aging former gangster who lives in Sally's apartment building and runs a numbers game (an illegal lottery) in poor areas of the city; he also acts as a caretaker for Grace, a seemingly bedridden aging beauty. Dave convinces Lou to sell the cocaine for him, but as Lou sells the first batch, Dave is attacked and killed by the mobsters from whom he had stolen the drugs. Lou is left with the remaining cocaine and continues to sell to impress Sally, whom he has long pined for, with money. Sally and Lou make love one day, but she returns to her apartment to find it trashed; she has been tracked down by Dave's killers, who beat her to find out if she has the drugs. They leave, but Lou laments not being able to protect her. Sally is fired from the casino when her late husband's criminal record is discovered. Lou sells most of the remainder of the cocaine, while both Sally and the mobsters discover Lou's affiliation with Dave. The mobsters corner them one night, but are killed when Lou produces a gun and shoots them. He and Sally then steal their car and leave the city. That night, from a motel outside Atlantic City, they watch the TV news reporting on the killing. A police sketch of the suspect is shown. It looks nothing like Lou. Lou is overjoyed with relief and pride. He confesses to Sally that this was the first time he had ever killed anyone...
The film opened to critical acclaim and was nominated for the Big Five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (for Lancaster), Best Actress (for Sarandon), and Best Original Screenplay, but did not win in any category. In Canada, it won Genie Awards for Best Performance by a Foreign Actress (for Sarandon), Best Supporting Actress (for Reid), and Best Art Direction, with three additional nominations. In France, it was nominated for the César Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Music. Despite this, it was a box office disappointment, grossing $12.7 million against its $7.2 million budget.
I have to say that I don´t understand the Oscar nominations for this stale, linear and a bit boring Louis Malle film. The story about an aging wannabe gangster is not very intriguing nor exciting to my mind. The editing is strange, the flow strange and the acting a bit so so. The main characters are underdeveloped and they leave no real marks. Everything is a bit flat and static. I really like Susan Sarandon, always have, and the same goes for good ol´ Burt Lancaster, but this is disappointing in my book at least.
It's interesting that my favorite Burt Lancaster film is one where is so old.
I have a soft spot for AC. We would spend a week each summer in a condo my great uncle owned in the Ocean Club. Even today, the cigarette smell caked into the carpets of the casinos brings me back to my childhood, where some of my earliest memories are on Atlantic City's beaches and boardwalk. This film takes place when AC was making its transformation into a corporate casino destination. Lou Pascal (played by the wonderful Burt Lancaster) laments the evolution with quips like "Soon Howard Johnson will be opening up a casino." (paraphrasing.) He yearns for a time when organized crime ran the city — we see a piece of this with the old-school, in-the-know, smoke-filled gambling that takes place behind closed doors. The relationship between Lou and Grace (Kate Reid), who is a poor man's Norma Desmond (Sunset Boulevard) is a joy to watch, whether Grace is chastising him or they're snuggling up in bed together. Susan Sarandon gives a great performance as Sally Matthews, one of the numerous workers that turn the cogs of Atlantic City's burgeoning service industry. All shot in and around location, Atlantic City does a fantastic job of showing a city in transition and how its generations, old and new, are coping with the changes.
Timeless Classic. Its about as many years removed since this movie was made as when Lancaster is reminiscing about the real glory days of A.C.
With an almost surprising amount of sophistication and dignity for a movie about Atlantic City, Malle's bittersweet story of a person and a place's rejuvenation balances the longing for past glory days with hope for future better ones while filling its characters with agency, desire, and warmth.
How rare it is to see a film defined as a crime/thriller feature genuinely interesting characters that the film is more interested in exploring than the ostensible plot. This is to the benefit of the film as beyond the tale of cocaine passing through the hands of several different bizarre characters each with different hopes and dreams this is a love story, just not between the characters you might think. It is also a delight to see Susan Sarandon, leading a mainstream film for the first time, united with screen legend Burt Lancaster who reveals depths he never displayed in The Rose Tattoo (1955) and From Here to Eternity (1953) in older age. For lovers of art-house cinema this will satisfy their need for a quiet, contemplative film that explores the pain of people striving for bigger, better lives but for a wider audience it still contains the necessary thrills.
Aspiring blackjack dealer Sally, Susan Sarandon, has made her way from Saskatchewan, Canada to Atlantic City and works at an oyster bar while taking classes in preparation to leave for Monte Carlo. Her life is disrupted when her ex-husband Dave Matthews, Robert Joy, comes back into her life with her immature sister Chrissie, Hollis McLaren, in tow. Matthews has stolen a package of cocaine intended for members of an organized crime syndicate and while they attempt to track him down he wants to sell the cocaine so that he can support his pregnant girlfriend. After Matthews is killed, a mysterious older gentleman living in the same apartment block as Sally enters her life. His name is Lou Pascal, Burt Lancaster, and he takes care of an aging Betty Grable look alike, Grace Pinza, Kate Reid, while longing for Sally. The two form a close relationship as he is able to financially support her by selling the cocaine and he claims to have an illustrious past as a criminal. After Sally is threatened the two go on the run and discover that Pascal may not have been as experienced as he claimed.
The relationship between Sally and Pascal is one of the most realistic I have seen in this sort of film as he part lascivious old man and part chivalrous protector while she looks out for her own interests but isn't completely heartless. The Sally character is no femme fatale as we see how her everyday life wears her down and while Sarandon appears beautiful she is not Lauren Bacall or Rita Hayworth, she is simply a pretty young woman with real human concerns. When she attempts to run away with Pascal's money there is a touch of regret in her eyes and we sense that she does feel some affection for this man who protected her when no one else would. This is a by product of the world that she lives in as her ex-husband manipulates and controls her and her boss sexually harasses her but for a brief moment in time there is a real bond between herself and Pascal. The film ends the way it should as he has given her an opportunity at a better life while resigning himself to the fact that he will always be devoted to Grace more than anybody else.
Lancaster is perfectly cast in this role as a man with glory days behind who still holds on to his integrity and self belief in his later years. There is more than a touch of ego in him and he does tend to over estimate his abilities but he cares about those around him and treats everybody with a general degree of respect. These are qualities that we associate Lancaster with as he is respected and dignified in The Leopard (1963) while not being aware of the changes that have swept society in the decades since his youth. He is complemented nicely by the bright young talent that was Sarandon at this point in her career as the bluster and fire that would become her trademarks are here but she also displays a fragility and a sadness not generally associated with her. The two have a fascinating chemistry that blurs the line between romance and father/daughter relationship but we care for both characters and never feel that we are watching two actors play these roles.
From memory: grand portrait of a city's changing thought is poetic, subtle and muli-faceted; Burt Lancaster is excellent as the aged gangster.
So disappointing. If this was nominated for best picture than 1980 must have been a TERRIBLE year for film
Thumbs down for me. Just a bunch of pathetic characters doing pathetic stuff. I know that formula often works for critics but not me. 4.4 out of 10