Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Cooler - A beautiful sleeper

It starts with the bad haircut. A full head of hair with an machete-like slash right above the ears. Then there's the ill-fitting, rather cheap-looking suits. Colors which don't match. An artful limp. Topped off with a doulful smile, like a cherry on this loser's life.

Meet the Cooler, a paid sadsack at the Shangri-La Casino. One pass by the craps table, and seven kills the point. The more resistant winning streaks might take a more personal touch, a hand of blackjack for instance, before 22 becomes the normal end result.

While The Cooler is a small film, one that came out last year, it sparkles with fine accomplishment, including several wonderful performances and some little twists in the script. William H. Macy lives inside the Cooler in a performance that seems to define his career. The subtle changes that take place in his gait, the limp subsiding just barely, the corners of his mouth lifting up when he discovers his happiness, are just a pleasure to watch.

Take a look at Ruth's take on The Cooler, stored in the August 2004 archives. We both agree that this little film didn't get its just due the first time around.


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