In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.
A family's moral codes are tested when Ray Tierney investigates a case that reveals an incendiary police corruption scandal involving his own brother-in-law. For Ray, the truth is revelatory, a Pandora's Box that threatens to upend not only the Tierney legacy but the entire NYPD.
A retired FBI agent with psychological gifts is assigned to help track down "The Tooth Fairy", a mysterious serial killer. Aiding him is imprisoned forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal "The Cannibal" Lecter.
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 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 ...
The late critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert both loved the film but Siskel, who was a professional card player himself called out the films' reliance on Matt Damon's character's tells which he felt weren't that believable in setting such as this. See more »
Mike's monologue at the end describes his walking away with about $60k. He had an original stake of $10k that he doubled to $20k before letting KGB and Grama goad him back to the table. If he doubled that it would have meant $40k total unless KGB "reloaded" with another $20k to bring the total to $60k. The mistake is insinuating that during the last hand, Mike's life was in danger of not being able to pay his bet back In time when he was clearly the chip leader and had more than $40k of chips in front of him which would have been sufficient to pay his debt to KGB which was only $15k. He trapped KGB to be sure, but there wasn't anyway he wasn't coming out of that final hand without enough money to pay Grama and KGB based on the fact he walked away with $60k. See more »
[trying to convince Jo that his skillful in poker]
Why do you think the same five guys make it to the final table of the World Series of Poker EVERY YEAR? What, are they the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? It's a skill game Jo.
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This film was unjustly panned as lethargic and bleak without a purpose. Considering how Hold 'Em has developed into one of the biggest social fads in the last decade, I would say that this film captures every emotional aspect the 'swings' of No Limit typically carry.
I had absolutely no idea how to play the game when I first saw this movie about five years ago. The dialogue is wrought with jargon that almost makes a mockery of itself. Especially since much of the movie is done with voice-over, I can see where critics are coming from. However, the viewer should not allow themselves to get bogged down with it all, we get the gist with well-developed staging and performances.
Damon and Norton play off each other better than Damon and Affleck. Though the story echoes in the wake of Scorsese's 'Mean Streets', the performances seem more detailed than the Keitel/DeNiro combo. The supporting roles add great depth to the film, and Tutorro shines as the wise-old has-been that successfully provides Damon's character with the cold-hard truth he never seems to adhere to (until it is too late).
Above all, we feel compelled to cheer for Damon's Mike McDermott the ENTIRE time. He acknowledges his 'bad' play but constantly tries to explain that this is a game of skill and not luck. This is an important element considering the widely accepted belief that any success in gambling is the result of luck. This may be true in the bloodsucking casinos, but in Hold 'Em you play the chips AND the man.
Now that baseball is out of the Olympics, perhaps we will see a push for a true "WORLD Series of Poker". Then again, I also wanted to see 'Four Square' made into an official event when I was 8, so maybe I'm just talking out of my ass...
Should be commended as a precursor to a pandemic fad that is costing teens (and their parents) millions daily.
*** (of ****)
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