Hard Eight (film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Paul Thomas Anderson|
|Produced by||Hans Brockmann
|Written by||Paul Thomas Anderson|
|Starring||Philip Baker Hall
John C. Reilly
Samuel L. Jackson
|Music by||Jon Brion
|Editing by||Barbara Tulliver|
|Running time||102 minutes|
Hard Eight is a 1996 American crime thriller film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson. There are also brief appearances by Robert Ridgely, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Melora Walters.
The film, originally titled Sydney, was Anderson's first feature; Hall, Reilly, Ridgely, Hoffman and Walters acted in Anderson's subsequent films. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival. The film was expanded from the principal idea of Anderson's short film Cigarettes & Coffee (1993).
Sydney (Philip Baker Hall), a gambler in his 60s, finds a young man, John (John C. Reilly), sitting forlornly outside a diner and offers to give him a cigarette and buy him a cup of coffee. Sydney learns that John is trying to raise enough money for his mother's burial. He offers to drive him to Las Vegas and teach him how to make some money and survive. Skeptical at first, John agrees.
Two years later, John, having gotten the money for the funeral, has stayed in Reno and become Sydney's protégé. John has a new friend named Jimmy (Samuel L. Jackson) who does security work, and is attracted to Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow), a cocktail waitress dating John. John and Clementine get married, but later Sydney gets a frantic late-night phone call. He arrives at a motel to find the newlyweds holding hostage a customer refusing to pay Clementine, who moonlights as a prostitute.
Sydney manages to smooth the situation over. He then advises John and Clementine to leave town and head to faraway Niagara Falls for their honeymoon. After the two leave, Sydney is confronted by Jimmy, who demands a large amount of money. He knows something about Sydney and threatens to tell John if necessary—that Sydney is the one who killed John's father.
Sydney acquiesces and pays the money, but later sneaks into Jimmy's house and shoots him. He then returns to the same diner where he met John. The film ends with Sydney covering up blood on his shirt cuff.
- Philip Baker Hall as Sydney Brown
- John C. Reilly as John Finnegan
- Gwyneth Paltrow as Clementine
- Samuel L. Jackson as Jimmy
- Philip Seymour Hoffman as Craps player
- Robert Ridgely as Keno Manager
- Melora Walters as Jimmy's Girl
Hard Eight holds a 82% "Certified Fresh" Rating on Rotten Tomatoes as of 25 March 2013.
Connections to future Anderson films
In the scene where Jimmy tells Sydney that he knows about the murder of John's father, he mentions that he heard about it via some other men, including "Floyd Gondolli" and "Jimmy Gator." These are the names of characters that Philip Baker Hall would later play in Boogie Nights and Magnolia, respectively.
- Hard Eight at Box Office Mojo
- "Festival de Cannes: Hard Eight". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-09-20.
- Mottram, James (2006). The Sundance Kids : how the mavericks took back Hollywood. NY: Faber & Faber, Inc. p. 129. ISBN 9780865479678.
- Waxman, Sharon R. (2005). Rebels on the backlot: six maverick directors and how they conquered the Hollywood studio system. HarperCollins. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-06-054017-3.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Hard Eight (film)|
- Hard Eight at the Internet Movie Database
- Hard Eight at AllRovi
- Hard Eight at Box Office Mojo
- Hard Eight at Rotten Tomatoes