Clive Owen plays an introverted, aspiring writer who takes a job as a casino croupier and returns to a world of gamblers and opportunists which he knows all too well. The film's little stroke of genius is the many wry, aloof observations offered by the title character as he spirals from a seemingly moral stronghold to a selfish opportunist, at the same pace as his consideration for himself and his own situation diminishes. The veteran English director Mike Hodges (Get Carter) has a refreshing, unsentimental approach and a crisp, direct narrative style. During the course of this film, he not only delivers an engaging and original crime story, but he also dissects the gambling business, removing all romanticism and fairytale from it in the process. A young and handsome Clive Owen demonstrates talent and confidence in the lead in what will stand as one of the most offbeat and best British films of the late 1990s.