The Color of Money Blu-ray Review

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THE SET-UP
Aging hustler Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) takes a promising young pool shark (Tom Cruise) under his wing, and finds teaching him the game is not easy. Also stars Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
Directed by: Martin Scorsese

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THE DELIVERY
Martin Scorsese’s follow-up to the 1961 classic The Hustler brings Paul Newman back to one of his best roles, and the Academy recognized it by giving him the Oscar for Best Actor of 1986. With Scorsese at the helm, The Color of Money is a superb character drama that is dripping with the director’s signature style. It is also relentlessly entertaining.

Newman’s anti-hero of “Fast Eddie” Felson finds a kindred spirit in Vince (Cruise), a cocky tool with a Jersey Shore hairdo who just may be a better pool player than him. Felson takes Vince on a tour of seedy pool halls along the east coast on their way to Atlantic City, to hone his skills in hopes of a big score.

Newman is absolutely fantastic as Felson, who is no more likeable than he was in the original film, but his attitude now carries a tinge of regret and sadness. Some may argue whether this is his greatest role, and while it may not be the most iconic, it is by far the most layered.

Cruise has charisma to spare as Vince, and like Eddie, he is not the most likeable fellow. Over the course of the film, the viewer fluctuates between pulling for him and hating him, which is precisely Scorsese’s point here. There is no real hero, just a bunch of flawed people trying to find themselves. And it is great fun to watch.  

The screenplay by Richard Price (from the novel by Walter Tevis) is smart and earnest. In the hustler’s world, every sentence carries a deeper meaning, and here, the script lends to the film’s authenticity. It’s too bad Newman didn’t get more film roles like this before he died, but at least Fast Eddie lives on.

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VIDEO AND AUDIO
The newly remastered video looks quite good, despite some noticeable film grain. The image can be a bit soft at times, but overall, detail is good, the print is clean, and colors are true. With the exception of the casino scenes later in the film, the film is puposely drab in color, but the video handles it well without looking washed out. This film has never looked better.

The soundtrack is a 5.1 DTS HD-MA mix, and sounds quite good, although some scenes appear to use on-set recorded audio that sounds less than optimal. If the source material is not ideal, no amount of uncompressed audio will help.

SPECIAL FEATURES
Unfortunately, for a Blu-ray being touted as celebrating the 25th anniversary of the film’s release, there are no extras included on the disc. Not a trailer, no commentary, not even some vintage featurettes. It is a real shame more wasn’t done for this release, which should be filled with something for all those Scorsese fans.

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THE BOTTOM LINE: BUY IT OR REDBOX IT?
Ratings (1-10 scale)
Movie: 9
Video: 8
Audio: 7
Extras: 1
Overall Grade: 6.25

The lack of special features is a travesty for a film this good, and brings the overall grade down. Still, the video and audio are impressive for a 25 year old movie, so kudos to the team that remastered this gem. Even without the extras, the film is great, and deserves a buy. The Blu-ray is priced to sell, so with a little shopping around, you will likely find it at a great price. But, it’s only money, right? Do yourself a favor and pick this up. It is well worth it.

BLU-RAY SPECS
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Rating: R (language, brief nudity)
Running time: 119 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS HD-MA, French 2.0 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish
Special Features: None

The Color of Money: 25th Anniversary Edition is now available on Blu-ray from Touchstone Home Entertainment.
Click here to order The Color of Money on Blu-ray from Amazon!