Sometimes the expectations that you have color your reception of a movie. Up was a perfect example. Warned about the film’s dark content, I came to the conclusion that protagonist would die at the end. I also became convinced that the sequence at Paradise Falls was a dream, and that the movie would end with Carl waking up in a ruined house. That made watching the movie quite thrilling. But the non-realization of any of these notions was just a little disappointing.
So it was that when I watched The Hustler for the first time in a dog’s age, I was convinced that Fast Eddie Felson loses in the final contest with Minnesota Fats. The sense of impending defeat makes the movie an even rawer experience.