First thing’s first: a croupier is the casino employee who handles the bets at a gaming table. He deals cards or spins a roulette wheel — he’s the one who wins when you lose.
Jack Manfred (Clive Owen) is a denizen of London who aspires to be a writer. He’s having no luck breaking into the book business, so he takes a job as a croupier.
Jack’s a pro at the game tables, but he says he’s not a gambler (not only is it against the rules, but Jack’s a recovered addict). However, there are others at the casino who are willing to bend the rules, and these people make great characters in his book.
In order to write about these characters, Jack has to get into their minds. But getting into their minds could change Jack into what he fears..
Croupier is getting a lot of buzz, and it is well deserved. It’s a tight movie with well-developed characters, and a great performance by Owen. I don’t want to praise it too highly because it could easily suffer from over-hype, but Croupier is a satisfying, solid drama, and a nice alternative to the standard summer fare.