Movie of the Week: The Music of Chance (1993)

Philip Haas directs Mandy Patinkin, James Spader and M. Emmet Walsh in this drama where two drifters play a pair of millionaires at poker and find themselves winning a lesson in life.

One of my favourite novels; a magical realist road movie that hits the brakes at the midway point and becomes a philosophical exploration of responsibility, employment, capitalism, fate and even marriage. This adaptation is remarkably true… a little character stuff is trimmed out of the first act, the ending has a bonus coda featuring a cameo from author Paul Auster himself. Otherwise this is faithful to the clear cut simplicity of the modern parable as written. Spader is excellent as Pozzi the scrawny peacocking gambler while the rest of cast remain enigmatic as the more ironically poker faced players trapped in this little dance. Cooly lensed by Haas, this joins The Spanish Prisoner, Trees Lounge and the films of Hal Hartley as the unusual club of minor indie classics nobody seems to remember anymore.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Point Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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