The Cooler

Directed by Wayne Kramer

This smart indie directorial debut netted Alec Baldwin a 2004 Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination. In an old-style, frayed-at-the-cuffs Vegas casino Bernie (Macy) is employed as the ‘cooler’, a guy with luck so bad that he can pass it on to a winner with just a touch. His pal, the sleazy and sinister casino boss Shelly (Baldwin) is fighting against the encroachment of the new ‘family friendly’ Vegas, preferring serious gamblers. But when Bernie falls for a gorgeous cocktail waitress (Bello), his luck turns for the better – but you can see how that could be a problem. Unusually, the film gives equally excellent opportunities for its secondary players, whilst its polished ‘Scope photography and smooth Mark Isham score add a slick veneer.

101 minutes

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