Newman loses in this fixed game and yet comes out of it as the only winner.
Rossen is a sports man. His drama is not some drama. The tears are real as much as rotten the game is. But the director, Robert Rossen is concerned on both the aspects of this game, the up front razzle dazzle that can easily gather a crowd and the back stage drama that drives the fear in this high staked tense game. And let me start by the first game, the best game, of the film. Not only is it smartly calculated but also informative. For someone jumping in on this sport, for the first time, the baby steps are taken beautifully that marks both the magnitude and the rules of the genre parallel-y.
Aforementioned, the game or the onstage drama can never even be compared with the emotional conflicts that the broken lead couple goes through. Now so similar are these tracks placed that you find yourself immersed in them without telling apart what’s the act or who is acting. Breaking down this game, analysing it, the commentary of Paul Newman as the infamous Fast Eddie is a sight to behold. Watch him fail, love, cheat and then fail again with a drunken voice and sober body language while playing, he makes sure he lives up to the title given by the crowd, Fast.
Enters, Piper Laurie, her performance is as rich and powerful as her character. Not only can she empower him, but she gets to challenge the Fast Eddie and make him slow down. As a memory, she comes in and “makes him up” whispering and begging in one of the finest scenes of the film where mirrors are placed in front of each other, expressing to us, their interest and intentions, coming from The Hustler, you ought to note these things, trying to catch him out, you won’t though.