5.7/10
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215 user 118 critic

Reindeer Games (2000)

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

Director:

John Frankenheimer

Writer:

Ehren Kruger

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ON DISC
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Affleck ... Rudy Duncan
James Frain ... Nick Cassidy
Dana Stubblefield Dana Stubblefield ... The Alamo
Mark Acheson ... Mean Guard
Tom Heaton ... Ugly Staffer
Isaac Hayes ... Zook
Michael Sunczyk Michael Sunczyk ... Distant Inmate #1
Douglas Arthurs ... Distant Inmate #2 (as Douglas H. Arthurs)
Dean Wray ... Guard #1
Ron Sauvé ... Guard #2 (as Ron Sauve)
Ron Jeremy ... Prisoner #1 (as Ron Hyatt)
Hrothgar Mathews ... Exit Guard
Charlize Theron ... Ashley
Clarence Williams III ... Merlin
Donal Logue ... Pug
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Storyline

After being imprisoned for six years on a grand theft auto charge, Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) is days away from release as is his cellmate Nick (James Frain) who is is serving a two year sentence on a separate charge. Nick has a number of pictures from a romantic correspondence with a woman named Ashley he has never met but is waiting for his release. Rudy is looking forward to returning to his family and having a fresh cup of hot chocolate. Nick is killed defending Rudy during a prison riot. When Rudy Is released the next day from prison he recognizes Ashley waiting outside the prison for Nick and Rudy takes his place and pretends to be Nick. Nick had spoken of his previous employment in security with an Indian casino and Rudy finds himself involved with Ashley's criminal gun runner brother Gabriel (Gary Sinise). Rudy is violently coerced to cooperate with a Christmas Eve casino robbery scheme that Gabriel and his gang have been planning with Nick's casino knowledge as the key. Things... 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 February 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Deception See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$42,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,128,356, 27 February 2000, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$23,360,779, 18 June 2000
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Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The theatrical trailer was narrated by Hal Douglas. 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

[first lines]
Rudy Duncan: [Rudy narrating] To tell ya the truth, I never was much for the holidays. It's been forever since I'd known a holiday, since I'd seen my family, since I'd been with a girl, since I'd driven a car. You see, cars are what put me here - Iron Mountain, Maximum Security Prison. I was riding a hard five for grand theft auto. Meanwhile, most of my esteemed raping and murdering colleagues were up for parole in three. The world works like that sometimes. All the time, in my experience. ...
[...]
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Alternate Versions

In the commentary on the "Director's cut" DVD it is mentioned that an alternate ending was filmed where Dennis Farina's character lives. It was later changed after they decided he would have been a witness to everything and it would not have worked. Also several scenes were mentioned to be changed or heavily cut. One of them being a big reshoot right as Ben Affleck is going back to his hotel room after he finds out about Monster and Ashley not being brother and sister. See more »

Connections

References Beavis and Butt-Head Do America (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Joy to the World
Written by Isaac Watts (uncredited) and Lowell Mason (uncredited)
[Incorrectly credited as Traditional]
Courtesy of Associated Production Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Affleck-ted, but Not Fatally
23 February 2001 | by PlacematSee all my reviews

John Frankenheimer follows up his great comeback film, "Ronin," with "Reindeer Games," a flawed but efficient thriller that recalls his earlier "52 Pick-Up."

Freshly paroled ex-con Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) assumes the identity of his cellmate, Nick (who misses out on his parole when he is taken out during a prison riot), when Rudy falls for Nick's gorgeous pen-pal, Ashley (Charlize Theron). The ruse goes awry when he is also mistaken for Nick by a gang of thugs (headed by Gary Sinise) who recruit him in their planned heist of an Indian casino at which Nick had been employed.

Like "52 Pick-Up," "Reindeer Games" has a central character whose flawed behavior puts him at the mercy of dangerous individuals who conceive a scheme that spins out of control. "52 Pick-Up" was successful because the entire cast, beginning with Roy Scheider as the trapped hero, was equal to the task of bringing the grittiness of the material to the screen. The one significant problem with "Reindeer Games" is the casting of squeaky-clean Affleck as its central character. Through no fault of his own, Affleck looks like a lightweight alongside a supporting cast that includes Sinise, Clarence Williams III, Danny Trejo, and Dennis Farina -- all actors who look like they have lived a little. Affleck cuts a profile similar to that of Scheider, but without the lived-in look that made him convincing as someone who would be able to go toe to toe with his tormentors.

"Reindeer" is helped greatly by the performance of Theron, who, while also young, always has been able to project a more adult presence like the young Kathleen Turner. Credited more for her on- and off-screen glamour, Theron often is underrated as an actress. Here she conveys equal parts sweetness, intelligence, dismay, and ferocity. Of course, she also livens up her sensual scenes. For many actresses, nudity itself is the extent of their sexuality, but Theron generates heat simply by looking comfortable and bringing an unforced quality to the proceedings.

The other major plus is Frankenheimer's direction, which turns an adequate screenplay into a solid thriller. He keeps the story moving and handles the action scenes economically, avoiding the excesses of Michael Bay, Simon West, and other directors of MTV-inspired fireball-fests. As in "Ronin," the action actually stays within the bounds of plausibility, which makes them more involving.


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