by Eloquent Tales on 10/06/10 at 2:05 am
In the movie Atlantic City, the past and the present merge.
Atlantic City seems to be telling a story about the past, the present, and the transition from one to the other. The city seems to be in a transition. Also, the main characters, played by Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon, are at a turning point in their lives.
Lancaster is having a hard time adjusting to the present. His friend Grace is also struggling to fit in with modern times. They were both associated with big-time gangsters back in the 1930’s and basically, they still long for those days. They both identify with the old buildings in the city. The old ones are being torn down to make room for the new ones. And some are being renovated. In the very beginning of the movie we see an old building being torn down. In many scenes, the viewer sees buildings that are halfway torn down.
Sarandon is in Atlantic City to train for a job in one of the new casinos. Just as new hotels and casinos are being built in and around Atlantic City, Sarandon wants to be a part of it all. She wants to be part of the new Atlantic City. Sarandon and Lancaster meet. The two of them together sort of brings the past and the present together.
In the end we are shown that the past and the present can coexist. Lancaster and Grace get together. The bond between them is the past. They find happiness together even in Atlantic City. Because of certain circumstances, Sarandon has to leave but she’ll have no trouble adjusting elsewhere. She was the little dose of reality or rather a piece of the present that Lancaster needed in order to come to terms with the changing Atlantic City.
The relation between the changing city and the main characters is weak. There is some history concerning Atlantic City that is left for the viewer to assume or to already know. As for the present state of the city, the viewer never really knows the full extent of how it has changed.