Movie Review – Hard Eight

Posted: September 20, 2016 in Movie Reviews
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I’ve always said this and I’ll keep saying it again and again. If there is one director, out of all if I have the liberty to become as assistant director to I’d blindly choose PTA. What a master he is.


Hard Eight might be the simplest of his films but to categorize it and put it in a certain box and judge is still tough. What an amazing confidence this guy has. The film looks like its building to something till the end but even after the climax we don’t know, to what it all was leading up to. We don’t know much about why Sydney (Philip Baker Hall) is helping this kid John (John C. Reilly) until the very end. But even after knowing we don’t know what lead Sydney to do such an act before.

Every shot of PTA is an act of extreme confidence because to make a movie with no preemptive thoughts and future concerns isn’t a small deal. We always keep hoping that something big would happen in the movie but nothing really happens. It’s like boiling water to the brim and then keeping it there and never letting it overflow. The whole point about a gift is the surprise element and not the gift itself, isn’t it?

Most of my favorite directors use jazz to such good effect and PTA too does it here. And having watched most of his other movies, to see Philip Seymour Hoffman was such a pleasure. It was like giving glimpse to a character who’s going to amaze you in every second movie of his.

But of all the people it is Philip Baker Hall who does an amazing job, well within limits, within boundaries. Doing exactly what needs to be done and nothing more. This could have easily become a Tarantino film if even one things had gone wrong but PTA chisels his film to such perfection where you can neither boast not criticize. Mark of a master director.


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