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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
'Things Change' (1988) was writer-director David Mamet's follow-up movie to his directorial debut 'House of Games' (1987). Both pictures featured many of the same cast and crew totaling to around about fifty common personnel between the two productions. This included such actors as Joe Mantegna, William H. Macy, J. T. Walsh, Ricky Jay, Jack Wallace, Mike Nussbaum, and Steven Goldstein. See more »
Margaret asks the House of Games's barman to call Mike out. Then he enters in the game room and closes the door. We don't see him comes back. So Mike opens the door and comes to talk her. During the conversation we don't see the barman behind the counter. But after Mike went to the game room, the barman appears behind the counter. See more »
Hey, fuck you! This is what you always wanted, you crooked bitch! You thief! You always need to get caught, 'cos you know you're bad. I never hurt anybody, I never shot anybody. You sought this out. This is what you always wanted. I knew it the first time you came in. You're worthless, you know it? You're a whore. You came back like a dog to its own vomit You sick bitch - I'm not gonna give you shit.
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A movie about doors. Worth a second look. And a third.
House of Games is a highly stylized affair. If you follow the action on the surface, it might be very unsatisfactory. Many reviewers on this site have pointed out details they perceive as inconsistent, illogical or outside the realm of healthy common sense. They comment on the actor's Zombie like performances. They are certainly right if they expected a "realistic" suspense thriller. I think the author/director had other aims than presenting the viewers with "real" people, "real" locations and "real" actions.
The story is about a successful woman who misses something in her life without knowing what it really is. Unexpectedly a new world is opened to her. She enters it willingly and is faced with the unexpected. The unexpected reveals itself to be something she somehow should have expected. What will she do in the face of utter humiliation, how will those experiences affect her future behaviour, who is the ultimate winner of the game, if there is one? This synopsis can be further condensed in to two "philosophical" questions: What is real? Whom can you trust? The movie treats them without mercy. Nothing and nobody, are its answer.
The movie gives this basic story a frame. It is very well tailored and aesthetically sound. The action is paced calmly and evenly, the musical soundtrack enhances the atmosphere superbly. Let's face it: The People who made it perceive moviemaking as an art. And not just as art for art's sake, many settings appear to have symbolic meaning. I saw it basically as a movie about doors. Doors and doorways star very prominently and remind us that we constantly want to get behind them and find out what is there, never quite knowing when we are in, when out.
As someone who is not a native English speaker, I enjoyed the dialogues. The discussion about why the Ricky Jay character loaded his squirt gun is hilarious. The movies last spoken sentence "it is a Waldorf salad" makes it impossible for me not to like this movie. I love Waldorf salad!
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