Hard Eight (1996) - Crime, Drama

Hohum Score



Professional gambler Sydney teaches John the tricks of the trade. John does well until he falls for cocktail waitress Clementine.

IMDB: 7.2
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Stars: Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly
Length: 101 Minutes
PG Rating: R
Reviews: 26 out of 152 found boring (17.1%)

One-line Reviews (110)

The whole work has a gravitas, a desire to score small, touching, truthful moments rather than big contrived ones, that's "wise beyond its years.

The movie makes a two year time jump and the character of Sydney and John develop and a couple more intriguing characters are thrown into the mix.

A slow, deliberately assured camera opens to settle on the face of a downtrodden John (John C.

Jackson, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Gwyneth Paltrow all nicely added to this surprisingly gripping film.

Jackson, Philip Seymour Hoffman: Intriguing view of guilt presented as the game Hard Eights itself.

Slow moving with almost no action at all, until the last five or so minutes, "Hard Eight" or "Sydney" is about as good a movie about human relationships and gambling that you'll ever see on the both big and small screen.

Very intimate and compelling - a splendid debut for PT Anderson .

Worth watching and again, Philip Baker Hall made this movie go from a 6 to an 8 on my scale...

The world's worst movie.

Sydney is a fascinating character.

Most movies that take place in a casino are very fast, and exciting; that is not the case with "Hard Eight".

This film is just boring and a waste of time.

Long and tedious .

The whole episode just fizzled out and was ultimately a waste of time.

The Impossibility of Redemption in Film Noir: Riveting .

Slow and dull.

The events at the end are unexpected, and makes the film exec more interesting.

This was an incredibly riveting movie, I could not stop watching it.

Most viewers I suspect will find this a bit dull; and, as it unfolds and we find out why Sydney is playing guardian angel to John, viewers may even be disappointed.

Its a rare character driven feature that has quiet a good pace that holds the audience on the edge of their seat which usually isn't the case.

Magnolia was also a bit pretentious (I still love it though) and used tons of camera and editing tricks, whereas Sydney used photography that was quite direct and narrative.

Good plot twist, good acting, weird characters and bizarre behavior make this an entertaining film.

A movie that starts off in a rather bizarre way, and moves along in kind of a slow, strange way.

It was during the journey through last year's nominees that I found myself in a tiny, empty theatre utterly mesmerized by Paul Thomas Anderson's 2017 film Phantom Thread.

The characters are banal stereotypes.

The acting is stunning, John C Reily is excellent, always worth watching a film when he's in it.

In short, the film is way too long for its own good.

During the first half, virtually nothing happens -- the characters are stuck in a stasis from which escape seems impossible.

This film is worthwhile and rewarding, a good choice for a person who likes thoughtful dialogue and engaging characters.

Anderson knows how to use a camera and editing to their full effect and make a scene that could be boring if directed by anyone else, exciting.

The fast atmosphere of Las Vegas is brought to a torturously slow pace in this movie as Paul Thomas Anderson attempts to create an Ingmar Bergman atmosphere with no avail.

Some minor narrative missteps not withstanding, this is thoroughly absorbing cinema.

A film that is ultimately about atonement, Anderson weaves a fascinating set of wildly unpredictable characters and coaxes luminous performances out of John C.

That said, of course, his huge talent also lends itself on occasion to crippling self-indulgence (as displayed in "Magnolia").

"Sydney" stars Philip Baker Hall in his most intensive role ever out of the hundreds he has had.

Yet it is by far one of the WORST movies ever made.

The suspenseful energy of a David Mamet story keeps you watching and worrying about the next scene as the story peels like a Hollywood 40's Drama onion.

It thought "Magnolia" was an amazing piece of art, but "Sydney is absolutely worth watching as well.

His debut is one of his most straigthforward stories which is very touching, fascinating and sheer brilliant in a very delicate way...

But by the third watching a slow love for the picture and it's unique characters and characteristics grew in me.

All of the traits you expect from a PTA film are present: incredible performances from all of the actors, tight and riveting dialogue throughout the whole film, long tracking shots that serve story and impeccable staging and blocking.

PT Anderson's beginning is a fascinating take on life .

Very original, fascinating, amazingly assured, unique first feature from Paul Thomas Anderson.

The kind that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

After a somewhat wandering beginning (that is nevertheless fascinating), Paul Thomas Anderson's film debut picks up speed and introduces one of those sinful chain reactions that I love ever so much in cinema.

The characters so well-drawn-out, and nothing is wasteful, excessive or over-the-top.

Otherwise, the film is rather boring.

Woefully predictable .

It was suspenseful, happy, sad, and a bit bizarre.

The characters are uninteresting, and the pace is as slow as any movie I have ever seen.

And when the kid becomes his protege, he gingerly tries to slide him together with Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow), a hooker-waitress who's as slow as the kid is.

The plot is very simple and quite uninteresting.

It is a slow paced Film Noir, that is both quiet and observant.

PT Anderson's first film is a good one, it may be low budget but it packs a quartet of gripping performances.

A heavy score guides us through the confusion.

It is very engaging, the characters are fantastically illustrated and the plot progresses nicely, even with some unexpected twists.

Released in 1996, Hard Eight proves that there is humanism even in the hopeless while providing a fascinating contemplation on human suffering and how we are occasionally agents of our misery.

'Sydney' or 'Hard Eight', as it's sometimes known, is a classy and thrilling film reminiscent of old, great film noir.

What works is intriguing well written characters that elevate above the plot.

I enjoyed it because it focused on characters more than the action going on around them.

The characters are all one dimensional, the acting wooden and the dialogue pathetically boring.

I enjoyed it.

I also found the intriguing dialogues to be both clever and amusing.

The cast is near-perfect as one would expect, and a lovely, mysterious, quietly intense mood is set up to go with the deep, rich visual feel of the piece.

Worth watching!

Intense and quite gripping.

Despite this he carries the film majestically and one cannot help but get the sense that Sydey is significant and incredibly fascinating.

And while the films final moments lack the impact I was hoping for it's nonetheless still a very entertaining ride throughout, and one that shows what an early force PTA was.

Even though I found it hard to empathize with the characters, (except for Sydney, they seemed like a bunch of no-hopers,) I enjoyed it enormously.

It started off very slowly but it maintained an intensity right through and was quite intriguing.

Slowburning portrait of the darker side of the gambling world, that is touching, fascinating and brilliant in its own delicate way.

The unusual circumstances in which two men meet before going on to become good friends, provides "Hard Eight" with an intriguing opening to a story which also features kidnapping, blackmail and a brutal killing.

In the meantime, there are jolts of adrenaline as the viewer is shocked even as the action proceeds at a relatively slow pace.

The story turns too predictable and sometimes downright ludicrous (the "hostage" sequence) and even the "stunning" revelation -why Sydney had to behave as he did- is terribly trite.

Instead we are left with what amounts to a collection of scenes that fail to tell a compelling or evolved story with only one major twist that comes out way too late.

plus,there's the pointless cameo appearance of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The feel is warm, the characters take centre stage and the dialogue is superb and engaging.

This movie is pointless.

I cannot praise Philip Baker Hall enough for his portrayal of Sydney, it was intriguing and utterly convincing.

But instead, though film begins with promise, it quickly gets pointless after the plot makes random, unengaging, and almost amateur twists.

However, for a glimpse of the genius to come, it is well worth a watch, and it may well be that the story is deliberately ambiguous and hazy to concentrate attention on the fascinating characters.

Anchored by an absolutely stunning performance by Philip Baker Hall, and very good ones by John C.

Pointless .

Sydney has an interesting storyline, quirky, gritty, sometimes fascinating characters.

Lacking the assuredness of his next two films, "Hard Eight" (or "Sydney") is still a very enjoyable film and a worthy debut from Anderson.

However, the movie is a really slow mover and while all the questions are answered by the end (like why is Sydney helping John?

Secondly, the story is intriguing and engaging.

OK, I gotta admit, although I heard about his movie on it's first release, I did not get around to watching it until after I saw PT Anderson's magnificent 'Magnolia', but I have to say that had I seen it previously to Anderson's later two movies, I would have enjoyed it more.

A very interesting and entertaining movie for anyone .

This is a powerhouse movie with solid and intense acting.

Philip Seymour Hoffmann makes a very entertaining if somewhat too brief appearance.

No story, bad acting, bad dialogue, unrealistic characters, the whole shebang.

Throughly enjoyable movie with a great cast.

The cinematography is drab, and the direction is tranquil.

Considering how engaging it is, it's almost surprising to realize how little there actually is to it.

Now it has to be noted that the film underwent severe cutting by the studio and intense creative differences.

After about 1h20min i started realizing that the movie could'nt be saved, it had just gone to far in being boring allover.

Touching, fascinating and brilliant.

Tremendous movie in every respect, check this one out, I highly recommend it.

Really slow and boring .

Yet even after everything that happens, the film still maintains its subtlety and slow paced nature.

Towards the end however it does seem to tail off somewhat, giving us neither the wham-bam all-loose-ends-sorted finale, nor leaving everything up in the air, real-life stylee; while the action points are sort of sorted, few if any of the intriguing moral and personal questions are resolved in a rather disappointing ending.

Anyhow, i have to remind you once again, this movie was beautifully shot, but overall really boring and the story wich i'm not gonna go into more was really bad.

His scenes are riveting.

His camera-work and dialog are so seemingly effortlessly assured it's just stunning.

This movie has a great start, then just takes an hour to drop the ball - by which time the movie's almost over and I just didn't care anymore because i'd spent the last 60 minutes watching contrived filler.

The visual storytelling in this film is breathtaking, the smart and delicate edits peppered through it were a pleasure to experience, the way Andersone quietly switches shots in the same conversation to explain how status is changing in them is inspiring filmmaking.

Jackson brings an element of grit to the cast and, like Philip Baker Hall, has an unpredictable disposition.

Fantastic turns from both Reilly and Gwyneth Paltrow (the object of John's desires) make this an utterly compelling and interesting character study.

] Overall, this is still a great film, with a compelling, mysterious story, brilliant acting and the debut of an incredibly talented and promising director.