The Color of Money (1986) was Martin Scorsese’s first commercial success since Taxi Driver (1976) featuring two huge stars, Paul Newman and Tom Cruise. Newman returns to the character of a pool hustler known as “Fast Eddie” Felson from the 1961 film The Hustler. This time, Eddie is joined by his new accomplice, Vincent Lauria, played by Cruise. The duo meets when Eddie decides to return to the game of pool, leading to a proposed partnership to the young Vincent. Forming a pact, Eddie and Vincent hustle, scam and bamboozle their way across the United States on a road trip leading to Atlantic City, for a final showdown with high rewards on the line. Meanwhile, egos become obstacles, and Eddie and Vincent having a falling-out, breaking the dynamic into pieces. This is until the two encounters each other once more as opponents in a large pool tournament.
During the time The Color of Money was filmed, Scorsese was not completely used to making huge Hollywood movies just yet. With Paul Newman and Tom Cruise on board, Scorsese was aware of just how well the film may do in the box offices. The Color of Money, along with After Hours were not passion projects for Marty. Of course, he enjoyed them, but what Scorsese really wanted to do was direct The Last Temptation of Christ—which after many years in the works, will be his next film. Looking for work, Scorsese knew he would have to be trusted, stating, “the industry is run by businessmen and if I want to continue to make films, I have to show them I have some sort of respect for money” (Christie and Thompson 114). And seeing The Color of Money as a stepping stone may be transparent during the viewing. The Color of Money is a well-done film by all means. Scorsese does a great job directing the story with fun dialogue and proficient acting that lands Paul Newman the Oscar for ‘Best Actor’. Side note—a general rule of thumb, most films that earn an Oscar for an acting role, will most likely be a well-done movie. However, The Color of Money may be a well-crafted and designed film, but it is missing something. And that something is Scorsese’s touch. It does not feel like a true Martin Scorsese film. This movie will hold up as a good movie, but will not come to mind when thinking of top tier Scorsese films.
Story/Plot – 16/20 Direction – 17/20 Acting - 18/20
Cinematography – 16/20 Score/Soundtrack – 17/20
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