A Cooler is a guy who makes other people’s luck change. He makes sure people who’ve been on a winning streak start to loose. The best cooler in Las Vegas is Bernie Lootz (William H. Macy) and not without reason. He only needs to get close to someone and his bad luck just transfers. His negativity is so big that he manages to shine it on other people, 24/24. As cooler, he works for one of the remaining classic casino’s in Vegas, the Shangri-La. After he had lost a huge bundle of money, the manager, Shelly Kaplow (Baldwin), offered to pay his debts in exchange for six years working for free.
Kaplow is a true old-style maffia casino manager and truly believes in Lootz’ capacities as cooler and he most certainly doesn’t want to let him go, despite his associates wanting to change the casino towards a more modern one. But Shelly has a problem as the six years are coming to an end and Bernie has made it very clear he wants to leave. Then, Bernie meets Natalie, a waitress at the Shangri-La, and the two head off pretty great. So great even that Bernie’s bad luck is turning. After the night of his life, he enters the casino in such a good mood that everyone suddenly starts winning! Of course Shelly doesn’t like this one bit so as soon as he finds out that it’s Natalie who’s making Bernie so happy, he decides to do whatever he can to get the two to break up…
Sound and Vision:
Despite some minor grain, there are no problems with the disc that can temper the viewing pleasure. Sharp image, lots of detail, colorful images, solid black, … Compression errors are absent as well so we can clearly say this is a very nice transfer.
This movie doesn’t contain all too much action and is mostly centered around dialogues so you may wonder why a DTS and DD5.1 are necessary but they do manage to create the perfect atmosphere and the music is really perfectly suited for the movie. Great stuff !
– Audio commentary track with the director, co-writer and cinematographer
– Anatomy of a Scene: 20 minute “Making Of”-like feature that includes interview fragments with cast & crew
The Cooler is a fantastic movie. Although situated in current time, it creates an atmosphere that really breathes the ancient times when Las Vegas was hip for the high and mighty and Al Capone still ruled Chicago. Despite a slow pace, it manages to keep you interested from start until ending credits. The acting is top notch with again a William H. Macy who by now should get an oscar and especially for the way he perfectly portrays Bernie. The transfer is done quite well and the only minor downpoint I can find is the fact that some more extras would have been welcome.