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Reindeer Games (2000)

 -  Action | Crime | Drama  -  25 February 2000 (USA)
5.7
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 27,574 users   Metascore: 37/100
Reviews: 205 user | 123 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

After assuming his dead cellmate's identity to get with his girlfriend, an ex-con finds himself the reluctant participant in a casino heist.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dana Stubblefield ...
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Tom Heaton ...
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Michael Sunczyk ...
Douglas Arthurs ...
Distant Inmate #2 (as Douglas H. Arthurs)
...
Guard #1
Ron Sauvé ...
Guard #2 (as Ron Sauve)
...
Prisoner #1 (as Ron Hyatt)
Hrothgar Mathews ...
...
...
...
Pug
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Storyline

After being imprisoned for six years on a grand theft auto charge, Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) and his cellmate Nick (James Frain) are finally going to be paroled. After hearing endless stories during his incarceration of Nick's romantic correspondence to a woman named Ashley he has never met (Charlize Theron), Rudy is looking forward to returning to his family and having a fresh cup of hot chocolate. When Nick is killed during a prison riot, Rudy decides to assume Nick's identity upon release from prison and meet up with the unknown woman. Burdened with a base knowledge of Nick's Indian casino employment past, Rudy finds himself in too deep with Ashley's brother Gabriel (Gary Sinise) and is violently forced to cooperate with a casino robbery that Gabriel and his gang have been planning with Nick in mind. Written by Brian Orndorf

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The trap is set. The game is on.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

25 February 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Deception  »

Box Office

Budget:

$34,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£101,094 (UK) (23 June 2000)

Gross:

ESP 244,329,691 (Spain) (29 June 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

| |

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Frankenheimer:  [people falling through ice]  a crucial moment of drama in this film. See more »

Goofs

When Rudy is pointing the water pistol at one of the gang members, at one angle, his arm is fully extended. At a different angle, his elbow is bent so we can see the gun as his face in the same shot. When they cut back and forth, Rudy's arm jumps from extended to bent and back. See more »

Quotes

Rudy Duncan: You're sending me into an Indian casino dressed as a COWBOY, thought this through entirely?
Pug: It was either that or a ballerina.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Role Models (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

We Wish You a Merry Christmas
(Traditional)
Courtesy of Associated Production Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Frankenheimer's Rosebud...
16 December 2003 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

I can imagine the pitch for "Reindeer Games" being thrown at the execs behind the picture...

"Okay, it's about this guy, who's not who he says he is, who everybody thinks he is, who fools these guys who thinks he is, falls in love with this girl who thinks he is, even though he isn't, and they try to pull a heist with his expertise, even though he has none."

Nick (Ben Affleck) has just been released from jail for defending his girlfriend in a fight prior to being thrown into the slammer. Upon his release, a long-time pen pal named Ashley (Charlize Theron) greets him and they immediately hit the sack. However, her brother (Gary Sinise) wants Nick to help them pull a heist on Christmas Eve at a local Indian casino, which is run by a money hungry wannabe (Dennis Farina). Her brother kidnaps Nick, holds a gun to his head and commands him to draw up a sketch of the security points in the casino, since he used to work there and knows all there is to know about the casino. There is one minor detail, however, that may hinder their plan.

Nick is not Nick.

Nick is really a car jacker who overheard his jail cellmate, Nick, reading his letters from a penpal named Ashley aloud. Nick was killed before his release in the jail cafeteria, and so Nick took his identity so that he could meet up with the infamous Ashley he kept hearing about, forming a mental picture of her in his head.

If you stop to take the time and think through all the minor details of the film's plot (especially given the "twist" ending), you'll probably arive upon the conclusion that it's all a bunch of bull. It simply doesn't make sense if you really take the time to think it through.

If you don't put your brain to work, however, you'll find yourself having fun watching director John Frankenheimer's last film. Frankenheimer was a talented director, the man behind such films as "The Manchurian Candidate," "Seconds" and "Ronin." His last feature was one of his most stylish and brutal, fast-paced, funny, and often just fun to sit through.

Gary Sinise ("Forrest Gump," "Ransom") is his usual villainious self, while the real surprise comes from actress Charlize Theron, who switches character a lot through the film, especially towards the end, and is a real beauty and delight to watch. She's the film's high point, and though people criticize the plot, I found "Reindeer Games" mildly inventive with its shifting twists and turns, even if they aren't always so believable.

The film's downfall is its ending, which feels as if the filmmakers got caught up in all their twists and turns and unconsciously wrote themselves into a wall, then suddenly slapped on a cheesy, cliched ending with a sentimental good guy closing scene. It's rushed, silly, and doesn't fit in with the rest of the film.

Irregardless of its uncountable flaws, "Reindeer Games" (or "Deception" as it is called in the UK) is a fun film, John Frankenheimer's final movie. "Reindeer Games" is often linked as Frankenheimer's long-time dream picture, much like Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in America." Like a dying man's final words, perhaps it conveyed some hidden meaning to Frankenheimer. Or, maybe everyone was wrong. Maybe "Reindeer Games" is nothing but another Frankenheimer film, this one not as good as most of his others.

But "Rosebud" didn't mean anything to anyone except Charles Foster Kane. Maybe "Reindeer Games" meant something to John Frankenheimer. However, as anyone who has ever seen "Citizen Kane" probably knows, it's not likely that we'll ever find out what it means, even if we try.

3/5 stars. Enjoyable if you don't put your brain to work.

  • John Ulmer



36 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Favorite Quotes Andyp007
Where did this take place? yooper1019
Favorite Charlize Scene In REINDEER GAMES abrooks-4
what a GREAT movie! clarkent25
Much better than expected martin23579
Ashton Kutcher is in this film! Double-Down
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