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.
Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter who lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera.
One of the most widely underrated movies of our time
Rounders is I believe, one of the most widely underrated movies of our time.
I first saw this movie as it was a 'bonus DVD' thrown in for free with my DVD player back in 2000, so naturally I didn't expect much (as the other bonus DVD's were very mediocre), but what I found was a very enjoyable movie.
At that stage in my life, I had only played a little poker as a child growing up, and never 'Texas Hold'em' so to be honest, a lot of the terminology went 'over my head', but even so, the film became an instant favorite of mine purely because of the performances.
The film has so much star power, and yet none of the fine actors try to 'steal' scenes. Damon, Norton, Malkovich, Landau ... and then the fine supporting cast of Turturro, Jansen, and Mol.
In fact, there is a scene with Martin Landau and Matt Damon that is perhaps one of the most beautiful performances I have seen in a long time between two very fine actors.
So even if you're not a poker player, the story is tighter than a lot of Hollywood 'pop fluff' and the performances alone can sell the film as an enjoyable movie capable of multiple viewings.
But ... if you start playing poker and get really into what they are talking about, and reading about poker theory (like Doyle Brunson's book Super System) then the movie moves up to a whole different level.
A lot of the time, Hollywood will attempt to cover a specialized error, and usually fail, or at best only partially succeed, whereas Rounders managed to get everything 'spot on', just look at the US DVD, it has a commentary track from 4 World Champion Poker players, if that's not a stamp of approval then I don't know what is.
When you factor in how the film can be enjoyed by someone who has little to no idea about Poker (as I did when I first saw the film) just because of the tight story and stellar performances and also be 'immortalized' by poker enthusiasts as the best movie ever made on the subject (and truth be told, a big reason why the World Series of Poker has been doubling it's entries year after year) ... what you have here is a true gem that works on so many levels and what I believe is, as I said initially, one of the most widely underrated movies of our time.
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