Burt Lancaster only got better with age and this has to be one of his shining roles, as a two-bit gangster (Lou Pasco) long past his prime, unwittingly involved in what would be his final deal. Louis Malle captures Atlantic City in its decline, telling a wonderful story of misplaced souls who struggle to find their place. Susan Sarandon turns in a memorable performance Sallie Matthews, who soon becomes Lou's love interest as she washes away the smell of brine from her shoulders in one of the signature scenes in the movie.
Malle constructs an elaborate story dealing with the gangsterism of Atlantic City past and present. Lou finds himself the reluctant paramour of Grace, the widow of a former crime boss, who Lou worked for. A relationship Malle never loses sight of as he develops the relationship between Lou and Sally, taking it to its fitting conclusion.
Malle has such a fine eye for detail, which made him one of the best directors in cinema. He brings his French sense of realism to Hollywood, playing off American gangster films in the same way Truffaut did, but creating what I think are more captivating films. Atlantic City is a pearl. It is so well rounded and lustrous that one can watch this movie over and over again and be enchanted each and every time.