This is a rather unique match-up, pairing one star in the twilight of his career (Burt Lancaster) with one entering her prime (Susan Sarandon), and both are given meaty roles.
Welcome to Atlantic City, the poor man’s Las Vegas. The emphasis is on “poor.” Everywhere we see buildings being torn down, and even the hustles are strictly nickle-and-dime operations. Burt Lancaster is an ageing small-time gangster. Susan Sarandon works the food counter in a casino, and is trainin… to be a card dealer. Neither, truth be told, is the sharpest knife in the drawer, but they are still leaps and bounds ahead of Sarandon’s low-life husband and flaky sister, who descend on her unannounced. Sarandon’s husband is here for a drug deal, which is going to go horribly wrong for him, but just might provide the opportunity of a lifetime to Lancaster and Sarandon.
A low-key mediation on age and fading dreams, this is also a quiet thriller that verges closer and closer to comedy as it goes along. Canadian content fans will enjoy the bits by Al Waxman and (get this) Moses Znaimer (yes, the man who brought us MuchMusic) as a gangster. Robert Goulet shows up to parody himself.
The sound is mono. It’s a decent mono, warm enough as these things go. There is only very occasional dialogue distortion, but some of the post-synchronisation is badly flawed, with the voices becoming oddly detached from the rest of the sound.
The picture is presented in 1.85 anamorphic widescreen. The first and last exterior shots are quite dirty and grainy, but the rest of the print is in good shape. The colours and contrasts are strong, as are the flesh tones, and there are no apparent transfer flaws. The picture could be a bit sharper, however.
You’ve got your (interestingly misleading) theatrical trailer, and that’s it.
Somehow, the knowledge that this is a Franco-Canadian take on small-time American gangsterhood makes perfect sense. This is an unremarkable DVD, but a very solid film.
Special Features List
- Theatrical Trailer