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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Rounders (1998)



Reviews and Comments

In a world of glamorized escapism -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- Rounders is one of a rare breed. It's a movie about poker, is very knowledgeable about it, features all kinds of the tricks and lingo of the trade, and obviously has a sort of fascination for the world -- and yet it does not glamorize it but rather examines the extreme and often destructive ramifications of participating in that world. It reminded me of The Grifters in that respect, which was a con-artist movie about as far away from the con artist fantasy of The Sting as you can get.

Matt Damon plays the main character. He's a gifted poker player who was burned and wants out, so he goes to law school. But he can't stay away, and soon he's back in the game. Reasonably strong characters and dialogue and a terrific performance from John Malkovich, highlight this thoughtful and intriguing thematic study.