Rounders

Rounders

4.4 15
Director: John Dahl

Cast: John Dahl, Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Turturro

     
 

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John Dahl directed this exploration of New York private clubs devoted to high-stakes poker, with first-person narration from the film's central figure, law student Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), who loses his entire savings to Russian club owner Teddy KGB (John Malkovich). Mike then turns away from cards, devoting his attentions to his law studies and his live-in… See more details below

Overview

John Dahl directed this exploration of New York private clubs devoted to high-stakes poker, with first-person narration from the film's central figure, law student Mike McDermott (Matt Damon), who loses his entire savings to Russian club owner Teddy KGB (John Malkovich). Mike then turns away from cards, devoting his attentions to his law studies and his live-in girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol), who's concerned when Mike's former gambling buddy Worm (Edward Norton) is released from prison. She has good reason to worry, since it takes Worm only a matter of minutes to draw Mike back into poker action. When she learns Mike has returned to the poker clubs, she moves out, and Mike begins to lose interest in his studies. Worm has a pre-prison debt, and the threatening Grama (Michael Rispoli) wants the money. Mike not only indulges the irresponsible Worm, he gets involved in Worm's debts. When Grama demands $15,000 on a five-day deadline, the two buddies go into high gear with a non-stop, no-sleep gambling binge that spirals downward toward an ultimate confrontation with Teddy KGB. Darkened club interiors and New York nights are captured by the cinematography of Jean Yves Escoffier, who moved from French films (the 1991 Les Amants du Pont Neuf) to American movies with the reflective surfaces of Excess Baggage (1997) and the patina of pathos found in Harmony Korine's experimental Gummo (1997). Shown at the 1998 Venice Film Festival and the 1998 Montreal Film Festival.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Mike is apologizing to his law school girlfriend for how he ended their relationship. She says, "Call me if you need a lawyer." Mike responds, "I will. And I will." That response neatly encapsulates the best aspect of Rounders, a film that takes a clear look at the type of person who becomes involved in the world of high stakes gambling. Matt Damon, playing against the type he had created a year earlier with his work in Good Will Hunting and The Rainmaker, embodies Mike's self-destructive tendencies while simultaneously revealing a self-awareness. He knows he will mess up, hence the wonderful goodbye line to Jo. Mike's best friend Worm is everything Mike would be without his self-awareness. Hunted, desperate, and selfish, Edward Norton's performance evokes Robert De Niro's Johnny Boy in Mean Streets, but not so much so that it is distracting. It is as if Worm saw Mean Streets as a child and decided he had found his role model. Like Dahl's previous film, The Last Seduction, Rounders is a character study, but unlike that film it is a character study that feels like real life. Where Bridgett in The Last Seduction was a love letter to every femme fatale in film history, Mike in Rounders feels like a guy that one might actually know. In addition to the clear-eyed look at the gambling life, Rounders boasts superb supporting performances by Martin Landau, John Turturro, and John Malkovich (who employs an outrageous Boris Badinoff accent that shouldn't work but does). Dahl, with the help of his performers and a solid screenplay, creates an entertaining modern noir.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/23/2011
UPC:
0031398143963
Original Release:
1998
Rating:
R
Source:
Miramax Lionsgate
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
2:01:00
Sales rank:
11,613

Special Features

Closed Caption; ; Set-Top Game - "Heads Up Texas Hold 'Em"; Behind-the-Scenes Special; Inside Professional Poker; Feature Commentary with Professional Poker Players; Feature Commentary with Director John Dahl, Screenwriters David Levien and Brian Koppelman, and Actor Edward Norton; Champion Poker Tips (From Four Professionals)

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Matt Damon Mike McDermott
Edward Norton Worm
John Turturro Joey Kinish
Gretchen Mol Jo
Famke Janssen Petra
John Malkovich Teddy KGB
Martin Landau Abe Petrovsky
Michael Rispoli Grama
Melina Kanakaredes Barbara
Josh Mostel Zagosh
Lenny Clarke Savino
Tom Aldredge Judge Marinacci
Chris Messina Actor

Technical Credits
John Dahl Director
Rick Butler Art Director
Scott Chestnut Editor
Bobby Cohen Executive Producer
Ted Demme Producer
Terry Dresbach Costumes/Costume Designer
Jean-Yves Escoffier Cinematographer
Tracy Falco Associate Producer
Christopher Goode Associate Producer
Avy Kaufman Casting
Brian Koppelman Screenwriter
Beth Kushnick Set Decoration/Design
David Levien Screenwriter
Kerry Orent Executive Producer
Rob Pearson Production Designer
Randall Poster Musical Direction/Supervision
Amanda Scheer-Demme Musical Direction/Supervision
Joel Stillerman Producer
Mark Weingarten Sound/Sound Designer
Harvey Weinstein Executive Producer
Bob Weinstein Executive Producer
Christopher Young Score Composer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Rounders
1. Opening Credits [:24]
2. "A True Grinder" [4:03]
3. "Everyone Goes Bust" [6:10]
4. Gone Straight [1:10]
5. The Judges' Game [3:43]
6. "I Didn't Even Play" [3:14]
7. "Someone Called Worm..." [5:24]
8. Back In The Game [3:16]
9. "Caveat Emptor, Pal" [3:50]
10. Nowhere Near The Cards [4:16]
11. The Lesson Never Learned [6:17]
12. "Alive For The First Time" [4:23]
13. "Our Destiny Chooses Us" [6:03]
14. A Night At The Taj [6:05]
15. The Juice Is Running [1:27]
16. Folding The Hand [:04]
17. "Cut Him Off" [3:05]
18. "Fixing To Go Down Hard" [4:10]
19. "Then It's Me, Too" [3:17]
20. Building The Bankroll [3:47]
21. Playing The Cops [3:59]
22. "Rounding Again" [6:28]
23. To Play The Best [3:19]
24. "I'm Looking For A Game" [6:54]
25. The Safe Bet? [4:39]
26. Risking It All [5:04]
27. Vegas And The World Series [6:56]
28. End Credits [2:51]

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