Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 14 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 14
  2. Negative: 1 out of 14
  1. 88
    Movies like Hard Eight remind me of what original, compelling characters the movies can sometimes give us.
  2. 75
    There's something almost hypnotic about the way Hard Eight develops -- even in its slowest, most tedious moments, it keeps our attention.
  3. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson crafts a plot of manipulation and chance, in which some zigs and zags are more convincing than others. Still, his feel for scuzz, for people living at the raw extremes of appetite, is palpable.
  4. 50
    Ultimately, the material is so familiar that it's hard to work up any enthusiasm for another trip though the seamy underside of glittering gaming life.
  5. The role of Jimmy is one of Mr. Jackson's scarier characters, and this brilliant actor inhabits all four corners of his jittery, avaricious personality. When he and Sydney finally clash, the movie makes its darkest, cleverest turn into film-noir nightmare.
  6. Impressive for its lean and unblemished storytelling, but even more so for its performances.
  7. The plot is bare-bones stuff, weak in story line and bereft of motivation.
  8. 100
    One of the best films of the year.
  9. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    We accept the sincerity and altruistic motives of the aging loner he (Philip Baker Hall) portrays in this consciously spare Nevada-set sleeper. [13 March 1997, p. 8D]
  10. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    90
    Four excellent lead performances, vividly evoked ambience and a masterfully sustained mood of quiet desperation mark Sydney as an impressive piece of work.
  11. Noirish thrillers live or die by their plot twists and dialogue -- talk literally being cheap compared to action shots. Unfortunately, the script by first-time filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson fails on both counts.
  12. 100
    Anderson, who makes as impressive a directing debut as has been seen in some time, creates a perfectly modulated mystery that doesn't even feel like one. It's a character play, and Hall, Reilly and Paltrow are so convincingly damaged they take on the properties of fine china.
  13. Hall, one of our least appreciated great actors, is mesmerizing as Sydney.
  14. Reviewed by: Kevin McManus
    80
    Paul Thomas Anderson shows off the same sort of quirky smarts that Joel and Ethan Coen did in "Blood Simple."
User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 34 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Feb 7, 2014
    7
    Really well done. Amazing to think that this was Paul Thomas Anderson's first effort, because he handles everything like a grisled vet inReally well done. Amazing to think that this was Paul Thomas Anderson's first effort, because he handles everything like a grisled vet in this. The film was slow, but built up nicely and the characters were all marvelously crafted. Main complaint were that while it was really well done, it never really made that "jump". I think this one could have been even better, but it seemed content being what it was and was relatively safe all around. In addition, I just never really bought into John C. Reilly's performance. All of the other performances were great, but his stood out to me as something that just did not quite fit with the rest of the film. Full Review »
  2. Apr 7, 2011
    10
    **** is this movie great. There are only a few number of filmakers that have a flawless track record. And PT Anderson is definitely one of**** is this movie great. There are only a few number of filmakers that have a flawless track record. And PT Anderson is definitely one of those. Because this film has some great characters. ANd it has everything that Ocean's Eleven should've had. Full Review »