Review by Andrew L. Urban:
It's as if Clive Owen was a reincarnation of Alain Delon or a Jean Paul Belmondo and his world view was being offered and opened up to us through the combination of the setting and his inner conflicts. Real life on screen, sort of thing, in ECU (Extreme Close Up). But the film has a contemporary mood, gripping dynamics, great cinematography and a sparse but effective score - for reasons Mike Hodges explains in his commentary.

"I use music only to highlight or illustrate the moment," he explains about 25 minutes into the film, when we first hear the score. Hodges, an opinionated fella, reckons there is too much music used in films generally. But later on, he extolls the importance and value of sound, which "can transform a film". He also talks about casting being "everything" in a film, and says he has achieved the most simplicity with Croupier of any of his films. "And I should - at my age," he adds.

One of the items of interesting trivia Hodges reveals is the identity of a lone, heavily mustachioed gambler in an early scene: the man was for many years Stanley Kubrick's right hand man.

Hodges' commentary is compelling, unselfonscious, detailed and he takes us deep into the process of making the film, without jargon or fake film mystique. The result is a great enhancement to the film, adding to understanding as well as enjoyment.

If you've enjoyed this fine film once on the big screen, enjoy it all over again on DVD.