A fateful event leads to a job in the film business for top mixed-martial arts instructor Mike Terry. Though he refuses to participate in prize bouts, circumstances conspire to force him to consider entering such a competition.
Following the theft of a postal-order, a fourteen-year old cadet is expelled from Naval College. To save the honour of the boy and his family, the pre-eminent barrister of the day is engaged to take on the might the Admiralty.
A famous psychologist, Margaret Ford, decides to try to help one of her patients get out of a gambling debt. She visits the bar where Mike, to whom the debt is owed, runs poker games. He convinces her to help him in a game: her assignment is to look for "tells", or give-away body language. What seems easy to her becomes much more complex.Written by
John J. Magee <email@example.com>
The $6000 check Margaret Ford (Lindsay Crouse) writes to settle the phony debt at the poker game early in the film is dated May 12, 1987. May 12 (1948) is Crouse's birthday. See more »
Towards the end of the film, Margaret Ford returns to her private office and cuts herself. Several drops of blood fall on the cover label of a dossier lying on the desk. In subsequent shots, the blood stain jumps down the label and finally ends up on the back cover, leaving the label clean. See more »
It's called a confidence game. Why? Because you give me your confidence? No. Because I give you mine.
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If your idea of a thriller is car chases, explosions, and dozens of people being mowed down by gunfire, then "House of Games" is definitely not the movie for you. If you like and appreciate psychological drama and suspense, then, by all means, see it.
"House of Games" tells the story of an esteemed psychologist and writer, Dr. Margaret Ford (Lindsay Crouse), who tries to help a patient and gets involved in the shadowy world of con men led by the charismatic Mike (Joe Mantegna). To say anything more about the plot would ruin the suspense. Frankly, I find it hard to believe anyone who says they saw the twists coming. Just like a clever con artist, this movie draws you into its web and lulls your vigilance.
The story is taut and well-crafted, the dialogue smart and laconic, the acting uniformly good (Mantegna is superbly charismatic). Some have complained that Dr. Ford is not a very sympathetic character, and wondered why Mamet would make Lindsay Crouse look so physically unattractive. But Dr. Ford is supposed to be cold and aloof; moreover, her homeliness is in a way essential to the plot (at one point, I believe that an injury to her sexual self-esteem is a key part of her motivation ... I'll say no more).
"House of Games" is a dark look at the underside of human nature that concludes on a note of discomforting ambiguity. It will hold your attention every second while you are watching, and stay with you for a long time afterwards.
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