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.
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 ...
Early on, Mike is seen taking money out of a poker book called "Super System", which was written by poker legend Doyle Brunson. He later pulls quotes from the book with the lines "Texas Hold 'em is the Cadillac of poker games" and "The trick to no limit is to put a man to a decision for all his chips." See more »
None of the principle or supporting characters speak with a New York accent. See more »
[after walking up to his poker table inside the Sheriffs game]
yeah, your uncle Pete told me to come by if I was ever around here
[referring to if he met his uncle while in prison]
are you one of his "students"?
[realizing what he meant]
oh no, no, no. I wasn't "inside"
then you know him from Huntington huh?
yeah he took me for like a grand at The Lodge
that's the buy in here, we play twenty/forty studs, grab a seat
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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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