The Hustler (1961)


An up-and-coming pool player plays a long-time champion in a single high-stakes match. (IMDb)
A sports movie that doesn’t end but begins with the big game, and one in which the protagonist loses, at that, setting off a somber character study headed by Newman’s strong central turn. Claustrophobic, smoke-filled indoor settings and black and white cinematography help set the melodramatic mood, while endless quotable monologues (“Eddie, you’re a born loser”) carry the film along. Some of the emotional peaks feel a little unfounded though (the late death could’ve been foreshadowed more).
7.5/10 (Really Good)