It's already a well established fact that some of the most entertaining and gripping scenes in movie history center around the casino or at least around gambling in some way. The exhilarating nature of choosing red or black at the roulette table or hitting when on eleven in anticipation of a face card in blackjack translates extremely well onto the big screen and as a result, a number mainstream movies have been successfully incorporating these very elements of the casino into their films for years.
It's also no secret that gambling is extremely hot right now, with online casinos such as 32Red constantly growing in popularity owing to the relative ease with which users can enjoy the wide variety of games on offer. Furthermore, whether you're a fan of online blackjack, poker or any other casino classic, gamers can indulge in their passion at sites like 32Red where new users are rewarded with a free £10 deposit bonus which is available on all online casino games.
This current fascination with gambling goes some way to explain why we're seeing a growing number of big movies referencing the casino. After all, these the movie industry is profit led like any other business and so it's in the producers and directors best interests to design them to be aligned with the most current trends and tastes. With that being said, is the relationship between the casino and independent films any different to the one that it has with more mainstream hits? Below is a brief look at some of the most prominent independent hits over the years which feature the casino or gambling in some way.
While Swingers was a more of a comedic drama which happened to feature a few scenes revolving around the casino, Croupier is the perfect example of a casino done right within the independent film industry. The film follows the story of Jack Manfred, an aspiring writer who decides to take a job as a croupier at his local casino in order to earn some extra money. However, Jack quickly finds that there's more to the casino than he first thought and quickly realizes that he's in over his head after becoming embroiled in plans for a heist. The movie perfectly encapsulates everything which is both captivating and admirable about indie movies - the cast is relatively unknown (save the brilliant Clive Owen in the lead role), the plot-line is solid and the film feels like it belongs on the big screen despite the absence of the special effects which are associated with the more mainstream blockbusters.
Hard Eight (1996)
Hard Eight is a little different to the aforementioned titles in the sense that while it's roundly considered to be an indie movie, it features an all star cast including Samuel L Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow and Phillip Baker Hall which wouldn't look out of place on the red carpet at the Academy Awards. Despite this, the movie was released through the The Samuel Goldman independent film company with a modest budget of around $3 million and is considered a cult classic among the casino movie elite, which is quite remarkable considering the film only grossed just over $220,000 at the box office. The movie is a gritty look at the life of a character named John who becomes a small time professional gambler but learns the hard way that the various highs and lows associated with playing games of chance can take their toll.
Independent v Mainstream - Is There Any Real Difference?
Independent movies tend to have a more raw feel to them in a general sense when compared to their Hollywoodian cousins, and the same can certainly be said when it comes to casino-centric titles. The casino in general is an ideal setting for any kind of movie but it does seem to be romanticized in the more mainstream movies while the independent titles in the list provide more of a realistic backdrop and believable plotline. As is the case with anything though, it's merely down to personal preference which approach you prefer and there are plenty of very watchable movies in either category. Nevertheless, with the popularity of online casino over at sites such as 32Red looking set to increase, it's likely that we will be seeing much more of the casino on the big screen over the coming years.