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Martin Scorsese's 25th-anniversary sequel to Robert Rossen's The Hustler is a solidly crafted entertainment that, for the most part, strikes a successful balance between commercial necessity and personal expression (1986). Paul Newman plays old-time pool hustler Eddie Felson as a Scorsese pilgrim on the road to grace, a part he manages well enough, though without the furious inner urgency and concentration of De Niro's quintessential seeker in Raging Bull. The underlying rhythms of repression and release are reflected in the film's visual line, with cool, controlled images suddenly giving way to aggressive flashes of liberating camera movement. The plot creaks a bit, and the character relations aren't exactly fresh, but all things considered it's a reasonably satisfying effort. With Tom Cruise (as the up-and-coming pool shark who learns the cynical facts of life from Felson), Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Helen Shaver, and John Turturro; Richard Price contributed the screenplay (based on a Walter Tevis novel), and the sharp cinematography is by Michael Ballhaus.

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