The Hustler - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hustler Reviews

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November 20, 2016
(First and only viewing - 1/29/2016)
½ September 19, 2016
I had a sneaking suspicion that The Hustler had really shot itself in the foot in the first act because they front-loaded the film with one of the most high-stakes thrilling matches of pool I've ever seen. It starts off brilliantly, with the cocky upstart played by Paul Newman and the calm professional played by Jackie Gleason. This entire sequence (which must have been at least 15 minutes) was so tense and exciting that I wondered if Netflix had accidentally jumped me to the final scene. The problem with The Hustler is that it does trail off significantly in the second act. I understand the need for the romance angle in the story, but it was really slow going for awhile, particularly when Newman's thumb is busted so no pool is being played at all. I also struggled with Piper Laurie's performance, because she didn't seem to have much range. She was either sober as a nun, or drunk as a sailor and it was obvious from the start of every scene which way she was going. However, once George C. Scott shows up, the class of the film cranks up to 11. He is just perfect and his interactions with Newman are fascinatingly complex without saying many words. Also, I was glad to see that all those slow parts paid off in the final act. While the opening was spectacular, it is almost surpassed by the poignant final game. The financial stakes might be the same, but there is a lot more subtext in this match. One last thing that I will say in favor of The Hustler is that it was remarkable how brilliantly they cut a lot of the actual pool. Clearly many of the shots were not done by doubles, but the actors themselves, and they were not easy shots either. That kind of attention to detail, and commitment to a role is always impressive. I think the overall experience of watching this film was good, I just wish it didn't have that huge lull in the middle which didn't include enough pool to keep me fully engaged.
September 4, 2016
Probably the coolest movie about billiards that there will ever be. So this is about a pool player (Paul Newman). He wants to be one of the greats, so he takes his shot at the best player in the nation: Minnesota Fats (Jackie Gleason). This is one of those movies that I had heard about, knew what it was about, but had never actually sat down to watch it. There's no better excuse than the list to rectify gaping holes in my film education, and my wife and I took the time one lazy Saturday afternoon to watch this back in July. Besides, Paul Newman is one of the coolest guys to have ever graced Hollywood with his presence, and he quite plainly doesn't make bad movies. This is a really good movie, but it wasn't exactly what I expected it to be. It starts off really fun, and the competition grabs you immediately as soon as he walks into a pool hall. There are trick shots and the occasional bout of trash talk, and it makes you want to pick up a cue. You can tell that our protagonist has his issues, and he may not be all that stable, but he comes off as more of a rascal than anything, and it is all fun and you can't wait to hear the next thing that comes out of his mouth, or see the next impossible shot he's going to attempt. You're having such a good time, and then the movie brings you back down to Earth with the drama. This man is a mess, and then he crosses paths with a potential love interest (Piper Laurie) who is as equally in need of an intervention as he is. They're both alcoholics, and their negativity and bad habits feed off of one another. It doesn't turn into a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination, it just ceases to be the fun time that you were having up to that point. Paul Newman has screen presence for days, and when he is talking, you pay attention. I love the black and white photography, it really makes you feel like you're in a smoky pool hall with all of these characters. When it takes a turn for the serious, you do start to feel the length, which is really my only nitpick in this 134-minute movie. These are the messy lives of imperfect people, and it is easy to see why this has gathered the acclaim that it has.
½ August 13, 2016
An engaging sports movie with great drama and a slick, hot-shot performance from Paul Newman.
August 11, 2016
There is occasional sappy moral speech making, but this is the only crime of a film that Hustles the audience better than any character within the story itself.
August 8, 2016
One of the best Newman characterizations ever. A hard hitting story about loss and consequences wrapped in the shady, roguish veneer of pool hall life.
July 27, 2016
Good story with a great cast. Liked watching Newman's character (fast Eddie) grapple with his self destructive nature.
July 24, 2016
Just exquisite. Really loved it.
½ July 19, 2016
I don't remember the last time I was ever this bored.
Super Reviewer
½ May 25, 2016
Paul Newman is at his best playing "Fast" Eddie Felson; a degenerate gambler who shoots pool to make a living. A sad but entertaining film made even more impressive by the knowledge that Newman and Gleason mainly played the shots themselves.
May 7, 2016
ONE OF THE TRUE GREAT ONES ABOUT REAL LIFE,,,,,,,
May 1, 2016
Every body raves about the hustler!!! Character study!! Paul Newman is amazing!! These things are true but time has caught up to this film, maybe I'm from the generation that demands 24/7 entertainment and action. The truth is I enjoy a good character study just the same as anybody else, but it has to go somewhere, it needs to somehow grab my attention. There are parts of this movie that are good, but out of the 2 hours and 14 minutes I would say about 20 minutes of that actually caught my attention. I watched Scorsese's " The Color Of Money" the other day for probably the tenth time and I thoroughly enjoyed it, the soundtrack is great and the pace of the film is much better. I respect that "The Hustler" is a classic, it just didn't do it for me.
April 9, 2016
Fast Eddie vs Minnesota Fats. A more intense drama I had never seen. Newman in one of his most iconic roles. Ups, downs. A classic must watch
½ December 13, 2015
As magnetic as Paul Newman is and powerful as some critical moments in this film are, there are long sequences that drag and take away from the weighty central idea in this movie, that money and winning aren't worth selling your sole for. The final 15 minutes are swift and deadly filmmaking.
November 27, 2015
Thanks to an incredible performance from Paul Newman he turns what could have been an average movie into a fascinating character study.
November 9, 2015
The Hustler is well acted, well directed and it has an important subject matter, but it is just so incredibly boring with a lack of energy in its execution, awfully sluggish pace and overlong running time. It is realistic and relevant, but still a chore to sit through.
½ October 31, 2015
The later to be screen heart throb Paul Newman stars. It's strange that Newman is unattractive as a young guy but later becomes such a hunk as an old guy because old guys are, well... old guys.
You have to like pool or an ugly young Newman to like this film, so that narrows the audience to three target groups: gay men, desperate women, or men who think the three stooges either are or were president or should be.
president.
To top it off, there are some lame thoughts about addiction obviously concocted by chemically addled individuals whose addiction is unfettered.
½ October 18, 2015
As US sports movies go, this is one of the best. You can actually see that Paul Newman was a pretty accomplished pool player which adds a lot to the film in my opinion. Good film for it's time.
½ October 5, 2015
Superb acting from Newman who carries this drama through some good billiard playing but also very slow periods. The film displays excellent B&W cinematography but could have been better edited and much shorter in length. AAN 1001
½ September 21, 2015
91%
Watched this on 21/9/15
Both the hustler and it's sequel 'The Color of Money' are top notch films where the former is more emotional and less stylized whereas the Martin Scorsese film wonderfully directed, visually striking and energetic. The Hustler benefits mostly from a top notch performance from Paul Newman, a performance that should have earned him an Oscar. The other actors Piper Laurie, George C Scott and Jackie Gleeson do their parts pretty well.
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