Hard Eight AKA Sydney – 7.5/10

‘This is a very fucked-up situation…’


Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood) d├ębut feature is the story of a wise, veteran gambler (Philip Baker Hall) who takes a down on his luck, lovable loser (John C. Reilly) under his wing and shows him how to grind out winnings on the Vegas strip.

Things start to go wrong when they meet Samuel L. Jackson’s wise guy and Gwyneth Paltrow’s hooker. PTA’s directorial bow is assured and entertaining. Whilst not in the same league as Magnolia or the aforementioned films it is still a strong piece of work in its own right. All four main players are superb, most surprisingly our very own Gwynny who is well out of her comfort zone playing a trashy Vegas waitress/hooker. Definitely worth a look, especially if you have enjoyed PTA’s other work.