Archive of films The Cooler / The Cooler

2002, 103 min

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Year: 2003

Bernie’s life seems to be a failure from start to finish. But his friend and casino owner Shelly is willing to help him repay his gambling debts. He recognizes Bernie’s enormous bad luck at gambling, making him ideal for the role of “cooler” – a person able to cause more losses than wins. But nothing lasts forever, not even Bernie’s bad luck. 


Loser Bernie Lootz is the protagonist of the story. His life seems to be a failure from start to finish – a bad marriage, a son whom he almost doesn’t know, an enormous debt incurred at the Shangri-La Casino. Noticing Bernie’s incredible bad luck, casino owner Shelly Kaplow decides to put him to work and help him pay off his debt. Bernie becomes a “cooler”: the guy who brings his bad energy to winning tables in order to change the win-loss ratio – in favour of losses. The story begins with only a couple of  days left to pay off his debt. Then Bernie meets new waitress Natalie, and it seems that everything is turning around. Indeed, Bernie is so happy that he starts to lose his ability – to lose. But that’s his main value for Shelly and the boss can’t afford for things to change now…. For the second year in a row (remember last year’s Focus), William H. Macy stars in a competition film at Karlovy Vary. Once again he shows off his magnificent acting talent and the seriousness with which he approaches a role. Outcast Bernie isn’t one of those bitter people who accept fate long-sufferingly. At the decisive moment he finds the courage to go after what he believes in.

About the director

Wayne Kramer was born in South Africa, where he graduated from an art, drama and music school in Johannesburg. In 1986 he emigrated to the US to start his film career. He has written several screenplays, including Terminals and Almost Vera. In 1996 he shot the short Crossing Over, screened at the Santa Barbara IFF and broadcast on television. Kramer continued writing scripts (Foresight, Second Wind, Mindhunters). His latest writing effort, Sketched To Kill, was sent to director Rob Minkoff for consideration. The Cooler features an excellent cast (William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin and Maria Bello) and a suggestive visual treatment. 


Kew Media Group
19 Heddon Street, W1B 4BG, London
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 207 851 6500
Fax: +44 207 851 6506
E-mail: [email protected]

Bontonfilm, a.s.
Na Poříčí 1047/26, 110 00, Praha 1
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 257 415 111
Fax: +420 257 415 113
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm
International premiere

Section: Official Selection - Competition
Director: Wayne Kramer
Screenplay: Frank Hannah, Wayne Kramer
Dir. of Photography: James Whitaker
Music: Mark Isham
Editor: Arthur Coburn
Producer: Sean Furst, Michael A. Pierce
Production: Content International Film and Television Ltd
Cast: William H. Macy, Alec Baldwin, Maria Bello, Shawn Hatosy, Ron Livingston, Paul Sorvino, Estella Warren
Contact: Kew Media Group, Bontonfilm, a.s.


Wayne Kramer


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