By Rochelle O'Gorman
Though set in America, this was directed by Frenchman Louis Malle, and
the atmosphere is very European. An edgy character study of losers and
would be winners, this was written by playwright John Guare.
Susan Sarandon's sad-eyed appeal won her an Academy Award nomination
for her role as a croupier hoping to learn the ropes and move on to the
more glamorous casinos of Monte Carlo. Burt Lancaster, who was also
nominated for an Oscar, turns in one of the most memorable performances of
his career. As Lou, an aged two-bit hood, he brags about his flamboyant
career, reveling in gangster chic that existed only in his mind. He
discovers, sadly, that he is of more noble stock than he realized when he
helps Sarandon's character out of a mess involving her unsavory ex-husband
and a drug sale.
The players are flawed, but richly drawn and believable. The humor is
wry, and the story carries us along. This intelligent, adult entertainment
is a kind of modern film noir, and as intriguing as it is well
made. A Canadian and French production, this was first released abroad as Atlantic
Atlantic City received Academy
Award nominations for Best Picture (Denis Heroux - Producer, John
Kemeny - Producer), Actor (Burt Lancaster), Actress (Susan Sarandon),
Directing (Louis Malle), and Writing (Best Screenplay written directly for
the screen; John Guare).