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This is certainly an original movie. I mean, everybody basically likes either watching or playing pool, since it's such an easy to understand and accessible, international sport, you don't have to train for constantly or think of any complicated tactics, unless you're being a professional of course. But yet pool just doesn't seem like the most likely or most exciting main element for a movie.

But the movie is of course also being more than just that. At first sight it really seemed as if this was going to be the story of a pool hustler, who went straight and was going to make it big time into the sport but by the end I started to realize that this movie really wasn't being about that at all. Everything in the story that seemed like a distracting and slowed things done was in essence what the actual movie was being about. It's just basically a random slice of life, about an ordinary person, who is stuck in a situation and lifestyle, that he just can't change, without hurting those who care about him.

But the movie still wouldn't had worked out as good, if it weren't for its fine acting performances. It's a movie with an impressive cast-list, of which Paul Newman, George C. Scott and Jackie Gleason especially impressive, with their superior performances. The movie even stars Jake "Raging Bull" LaMotta in it! But it seriously is also really thanks to its excellent dialog that the actors shine so brightly in this movie.

It's a movie that impresses all the more once you are starting to pay more attention to its details. It for instance is a really beautiful shot movie, that features some really great set-ups. It's a movie that is really made for a wide screen. Lotss of times the movie is featuring 3 characters in one shot, of which one is sitting/standing in the background, the other on in the front and to the right and the last one on the left and even closer to the camera. All are in perfect focus and everyone is doing their own thing and acting out their own thoughts and feelings. Really no wonder that this movie won an Oscar for its (black & white) cinematography. Perhaps its really being Eugen Sch├╝fftan's best work, even though he also did lots of great, mostly, French movies, that were also being very stylish and atmospheric. Next to its cinematography it also won an Oscar for its art direction-set decoration. This is also something I really can agree on. It are especially all of the pool halls that are great looking, even though they aren't any pretty or pleasant places within this movie.

An unique and well made gritty dramatic movie, with a superb cast in it.

8/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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