The Cooler (2003)
William H. Macy and Maria Bello constitute the unconventional romantic couple in this gloomy, nostalgic film about Las Vegas life and the people in it. The film is appropriately photographed and blessed with a delightful jazzy score by Mark Isham which provides an appealing backdrop for Wayne Kramer's story about love, obsession and fortune. Unfortunately, Kramer is a bit too eager to convey a message (and a somewhat naive one) compared to how much he has to say. There is power in the depiction of Bernie and Shelly - two lost souls devoured by a cold environment, and fine acting by Macy and Baldwin makes them human and sadly vulnerable, but unfortunately, they are caught in a film that flinches from exploring the supernatural propositions which it uses for all they're worth, notably in the banal ending. Baldwin received an Oscar-nomination for his work, which is Glengarry Glen Ross material with a well-hidden soft spot.