Essay about Hard Eight

1365 Words 6 Pages
Hard Eight

The story of P. T. Anderson’s Hard Eight, as made clear in the latter half of the film, is a story of redemption. Sidney, played by Phillip Baker Hall, is an ex-mobster responsible for the death of John’s father. Stricken with grief and regret, Sidney assumes the father figure role in John’s life. In finding John down on his luck, Sidney takes him under his wing and makes John his own apprentice. Teaching John how to play the casinos and live the life of a full time gambler, Sidney grows to love John as if he were his own son. He cares for his relationship to John so much, in fact, that he would kill to protect it. This film was the directorial debut of Paul Thomas Anderson. In it, as in his later films, there is a
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In Hard Eight, the connection is rather obvious. Sidney shot John’s father in the head and, in repentance, tried to assume the role of father to John. The story of Oedipus has had many direct retellings, most popular of which would be Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Most directly, this story is about the son avenging the death of his father, and continuing his legacy. Bellour’s theory, however, states that even though not all stories follow this plotline, there is always a connection.
In Hard Eight, John does not avenge his father’s death. That would mean he would have to kill Sidney himself. He does, through his own grief, and through Sidney’s guilt, manage to continue his father’s legacy. If there is any attempt at avenging the death of John’s father, it is made by Jimmy. Jimmy, who seems to be less naïve than John, discovers Sidney’s relation to the death of John’s father. Rather than just kill Sidney or reveal the information to John, he uses his knowledge for blackmail. Could this be viewed as an attempt at revenge? Jimmy claims that he “loves” John, but why would a friend exploit another friend’s emotions for the sake of financial gain? Surely, Jimmy knows how important redemption is to Sidney. That is what makes the blackmail so easy for him. It is quite obvious, from deductions about Jimmy’s personality that he knew of the situation before even meeting John. He therefore eased

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