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 ...
Matt Damon said in a interview that getting John Malkovich was a big deal for the film, so much so that on the first take John Malkovich did a very cartoonish and over the top performance at the end of which the whole crew applauded and praised him for how brilliant it was. At which point Matt Damon looked John Malkovich very confused, John Malkovich seeing him looking confused leaned over and said "I'm a terrible actor." Matt Damon said John Malkovich was trying to show him that "if you get to that point where no one gives you a straight answer, it's dangerous" See more »
The 6,7 and 10 cards in the last hand, change position between nearly every shot. See more »
[after have been caught base dealing, beaten up, and thrown out at the sheriffs game]
What the fuck were you thinking?
I was trying to give us an edge
I had them
Look I'm sorry we got banged up, I took a shot and missed, it happens
Happens all the time around you
And it doesn't happen to you? You're the one that flushed his whole bank roll on one hand
Oh fuck you man, that was different
How is that different? What makes you so fucking special? Why are all your moves so smart and noble and I'm ...
[...] See more »
I really enjoyed this movie, more than I thought I would.
I knew "Rounders" had something to do with gambling, and that Matt Damon stars in it, but not much more. So, when I watched it on DVD I was pleasantly surprised how engaging a film it is.
I am not a gambler, so maybe that is part of why I found it so fascinating. Basic story - Damon's character is a 2nd yr law student in NYC, and a good enough poker player that he has aspirations of entering and winning the million-dollar prize in the world series of poker in Lasvegas. However, Ed Norton plays his good buddy just getting out of prison. Norton's character is also a poker player, but also incorporates cheating because that just helps you make money faster. This approach gets both of them in some pretty hot water, and also deep in debt!!
Damon's character has a S.O. played by Gretchen Mol. Her distaste for gambling puts a great strain on their relationship. Will she stay, or will she move out??
And finally, John Malkovich does a wonderful job as the Russian gambler nicknamed "KGB". John Turturro is perfectly cast as Damon's friend and "street" advisor.
I simply found myself caught up in this story, anticipating the next poker game, wondering if they would all get whacked, or survive. Plus, Matt Damon has such a relaxed acting style, with that great smile of his, which makes all of his movies easy to watch.
I rate this one 8 of 10 for the well-done gambling drama depicted here.
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