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: 25 out of 144 found boring (17.36%)

One-line Reviews (99)

Throughly enjoyable movie with a great cast.

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

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.

Intense and quite gripping.

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

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.

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

A heavy score guides us through the confusion.

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

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

The characters are banal stereotypes.

Worth watching!

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

Sydney is a fascinating character.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Slow and dull.

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.

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.

His scenes are riveting.

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.

Long and tedious .

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.

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

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

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

The cinematography is drab, and the direction is tranquil.

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.

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

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

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

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

This is a powerhouse movie with solid and intense acting.

Otherwise, the film is rather boring.

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

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.

Woefully predictable .

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

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

The world's worst movie.

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

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

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.

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

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

A very interesting and entertaining movie for anyone .

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

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

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

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.

This film is just boring and a waste of time.

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

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.

There's a certain amount of contrived obfuscation, an attempt to create tension and mystery.

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

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

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

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.

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.

I enjoyed it.

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.

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

Secondly, the story is intriguing and engaging.

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.

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