Gambling with more than money, Robson Green compels.
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this fine adaptation of the Catherine Cookson period novel, Robson Green turns in a complex and layered performance as rent collector Rory Connor, a small-time gambler ready to wager larger stakes in more demanding games. His ambition drives him sometimes against his better nature and always against his lower-class background, and he winds up wagering no less a stake than his life in a game that has nothing to do with cards. The production is beautifully cast with solid performances by all players, and if the villains are a little too obviously villainous, and some of the plot developments are a little too easily anticipated, they can be excused as simply embodying the genre. Relationships and ambitions are the heart of this drama, and the changing and yet constant nature of family, friendship, and love has as much to do with the outcome of the story as the relatively predictable elements of the plot. Keep the tissues handy, and consider yourself warned: watching Robson Green, you're gambling with your heart."
The maturing of a man
Laura J. Eklund | El Cajon, CA USA | 07/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There are two things that I noticed in this movie. The biggest, of course, is the growth of the main character ie: Rory O'Connor, played by Robson Green. He is very good and the viewer can actually see the growth in the character as Green and the director work towards the ultimate growth of the character. In the beginning, Rory is a rent collector for the Kean business. He has a happy youthful love for his childhood sweetheart, Janie(Stephanie Putson). But Rory's first love is gambling. He supliments his meager income by gambling and he is very good at it. This is where every thing begins to go wrong.
Through it, he destroys his marriage, but using his street smarts he raises in ranks of the Kean business until he meets the daughter of Mr. Kean(Frank Mills). After her father's death Charlotte Kean(Sylvestra Le Touzel), is left to run the businesss. Charlotte had known Rory for several years and had fallen in love with him, but more than that, she knew she could trust him rather than the vultures who were at the funeral waiting to take over her father's business. Together Charlotte and Rory develop a love and the need to take a local mobster down, because of his doings on the water front. In a last ditch effort to keep the waterfront of Tyne under his thumb, Nickles(Bernard Hills) takes his fight directly into Rory's family. Rory becomes that man he was destined to become and gains the maturity and self-sacrifice that goes along with it.
The other thing I've noticed in Green's films is his concentration on portraying the working class who raise themselves in society after much hard work. This is a very positive statement.
I do recommend this movie, even if it's just to watch a love story about two lonely people."
It was a'right
SereneNight | California, USA | 08/20/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Robson Green stars as Rory O'Connor a poor man who has a talent- his ability to play cards. when his disabled brother, wants to buy a shipyard, O'Connor enters a card game with major league gamblers earning the ire of a local criminal. Severely beaten, O'Connor's life changes when the bosses daughter befriends him, and eventually proposes marriage. Will he find happiness at last or will his past catch up to him?
I felt the beginning was fairly slow. Lots of card games, lots of smooth talk, with rory slowly biting off more than he can chew. He is a charming rogue though, and you feel for him as he makes mistakes, sometimes repeatedly. His second marriage (to the older woman), was well-portrayed as was his redemption towards the end.
Spoilers. Don't read if you don't want to have the ending spoiled...
The ending is not a happy one. O'Connor saves his brother's life, but suffers severe burns and dies. This was brave, but at the same time, I couldn't help but wish he had survived. He had redeemed himself towards the end, and I wanted him to find happiness."
Excellent Tale of Growth, Love and Redemption
Donegal Dan | Southwest United States | 07/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is one of the best of Catherine Cookson's novels that have been brought to life on film. It has all the usual Cookson elements--the low class protagonist who finds a way out of his depressing surroundings and by his own efforts and ability plus a generous helping of luck, manages to rise above his birth without rejecting the people who have helped him get there. Rory O'Connor (Robson Green) is a prime example of this (so many of Cookson's heros seem to be Irish--is there a reason?)and the story of his ascent from rent collector/gambler to man of means and emotional maturity is quite compelling, despite a certain soap opera quality. All the performances are first rate and the love story is truly affecting, as is the saga of the O'Connor family. Strongly recommend."