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Music of Chance, The

Philip Haas

An outstanding cast, a cool, quirky, confident style and quirky material turns The Music of Chance into an auspicious feature debut for documentary filmmaker Philip Haas. Based on a tome by well known New York writer Paul Auster, the story will be called Kafkaesque because a hapless duo are caught in a mystifying, virtually inescapable web. Most unlikely occurrences may come at the opening when Mandy Patinkin offers a lift to a bloodied drifter, James Spader. In Patinkin’s room at the Carlyle, Spader convinces him to put up $10,000 for a poker game with two rich pushovers. After initial success, Spader’s luck turns and he and Patinkin are forced to agree to work off their debt by reconstructing a medievel stone wall, a job estimated to take 50 days. Intrigue, involving delays, hidden agenda, escape attempts and possible murder envelop the drudgery and command involvement. James Spader displays previously unrevealed sides of his talent in a very entertaining turn as a no-class, sure-fire loser who never doubts for an instant that he’s menat to be winner. Director Haas has fashioned an impeccabley elegant, visually distinguished filom that demonstrates an impressive control of tone an ease with actors and dialogue.

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