Thursday, September 23, 2021

#2,620. The Color of Money (1986)


The Color of Money is not a Martin Scorsese film; this is an attack launched time and again at this movie, from critics and fans alike.

The truth is, it really isn’t a Martin Scorsese film.

I mean, it is…he directed it…but it’s not in that it doesn’t have the same energy, the same bravado as a typical Scorsese work. It follows its story too closely, the camerawork doesn’t seem as interesting, and even the situations are (gasp) occasionally formulaic.

I concede to all of these points, but in no way do so to damn the film outright.

A sequel to the 1961 classic The Hustler, The Color of Money sees Paul Newman reprising his role as Fast Eddie Felton, a pool shark who is now past his prime. Instead of hustling, Fast Eddie spends his time nurturing an up-and-comer, Vincent (Tom Cruise), teaching him the ways of a hustler.

Joined by Vincent’s girlfriend, Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), the pair hit the open road, traveling from one pool hall to another, in the hopes of making a fast buck.

With The Color of Money, we bear witness to legendary director Martin Scorsese sitting comfortably in the back seat, allowing his star, Paul Newman, to take the wheel. Does this make The Color of Money a bad film? Absolutely not. It makes it an atypical Scorsese film, nothing more. After all, if Scorsese decides to stay out of the limelight every now and again, who better to take his place in it than Paul Newman?

As expected, the actor delivers an Academy Award-winning performance, giving us a Fast Eddie who has matured, and is willing to pass what he’s learned on to the next generation. Cruise is also quite good as the cocky Vincent, as is Mastrantonio (her character is arguably the smartest of the three). But this is Newman’s show, and he’s absolutely superb.

So don’t go into The Color of Money expecting a Martin Scorsese film, but I wouldn’t let that scare you away, either. It is a Paul Newman film, and the great actor proves yet again he’s more than worthy of a few hours of your time. 
Rating: 7.5 out of 10

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