Set against the glitzy backdrop of the French Riviera, aging gambler Bob Montagnet is about to gamble it all on the casino heist of a lifetime; a spectatcular sleight of hand--two heists, one real, one not, but which is which? Under the watchful eye of Roger, a policeman who would as soon save his longtime opponent as arrest him, Montagnet assembles a team that consists of partners Paulo and Raoul, technical mastermind Vladimer, former-drug-dealer-turned-informant Said, Anne, a young Eastern girl Montagnet rescued from prostitution, and the perfect complement to a double theft--identical twins Albert and Bertram.
I've seen this movie a few times, and each time I see it, I like it even more. There's something very appealing for me with this film as I like every single moment. So when this happens I try to make sense out of it.
What I've come up with is that the ideals this film present rings true to what I also believe.
The main character is smart and very level headed, but he's also a big believer in the unknown. It seems like his spiritual path is understanding when the world is with him and when the world is against him. In the main room of his house he has a roulette table. When he spins his number in repeated fashion, he knows that luck is on his side. And when he keeps spinning the wrong number, he knows that luck is against him.
It's an interesting way of thinking and I think that's why I enjoy this movie so much. I used to gamble a lot and I would always win whenever I didn't get emotionally involved. I'm from Niagara Falls and they have a casino there, so back when I used to go home often from my new home in Toronto, I always used to take the Casino bus. It was a free way to visit my old friends and family, but the drawback was that I had to cash in the Casino chips that they gave us on the bus. And of course in order to cash in those chips, you had to walk into the Casino and walk through the entire place to the cashout box located on the other side. Most of us can't handle the temptation and would always use those chips on the way to gamble.
But I had a system. For the first 10 times I went, I would play roulette but I had two rules. #1 - I would only play 4 spins no matter what. If I lost before the 4 spins, then I was out. And if I was winning, I cashed out. No matter what! #2 - I would always play the same #s. No matter what! And I won every single time.
I told myself to only play only 10 times as that's what my instinct told me. But of course I got greedy and played the 11th, 12th, 13th time even though my gut told me not to. What happened was that I lost all of the $1500 that I won. By the end of it all I was $500 in the hole. I didn't understand the art of knowing when luck is on your side and when it's not. And that's why Casinos always win. People get too emotional when gambling, and when that happens, you're doomed to lose a lot of money.
Nick Nolte's character understands this. In fact, he understands it all too well. When luck is not on his side, he goes on drug benders and loses all of his money on purpose. Because that's what you're supposed to do when luck is not on your side. But when it flips over to good luck, he then goes on criminal capers, knowing that he'll achieve his created heists because luck is on his side.
Too many, this type of spiritual path is crazy and too unconventional. But for me it makes more sense than any organized religion's ideals. And I can guarantee it works like this for Nick Nolte the human being too because he seems like that kind of guy. That's why this role works so well for him. Nolte has that unique ability to look rock bottom one moment and then look like a million bucks the next moment. That's his brilliance.