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Owning Mahowny (2003)

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A bank manager with: (a) a gambling problem and (b) access to a multimillion dollar account gets into a messy situation. Based on the story of the largest one-man bank fraud in Canadian history.


Gary Stephen Ross (book), Maurice Chauvet (screenplay)
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Dan Mahowny
Minnie Driver ... Belinda
John Hurt ... Victor Foss
Maury Chaykin ... Frank Perlin
Ian Tracey ... Det. Ben Lock
Sonja Smits ... Dana Selkirk
K.C. Collins ... Bernie (as Chris Collins)
Jason Blicker ... Dave Quinson
Vince Corazza ... Doug (as Vincent Corazza)
Roger Dunn ... Bill Gooden
Eric Fink Eric Fink ... Psychologist
Mike 'Nug' Nahrgang ... Parking Attendant
Tanya Henley Tanya Henley ... Teller
Brona Brown Brona Brown ... Teller
Philip Craig ... Briggs


Dan Mahowny was a rising star at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. At twenty-four he was assistant manager of a major branch in the heart of Toronto's financial district. To his colleagues he was a workaholic. To his customers, he was astute, decisive and helpful. To his friends, he was a quiet, but humorous man who enjoyed watching sports on television. To his girlfriend, he was shy but engaging. None of them knew the other side of Dan Mahowny--the side that executed the largest single-handed bank fraud in Canadian history, grossing over $10 million in eighteen months to feed his gambling obsession. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


To some it's a game. To others it's a habit. But to Dan Mahowny -- beating the odds is everything See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Canada | UK



Release Date:

25 September 2003 (Argentina) See more »

Also Known As:

A Queda de um Jogador See more »

Filming Locations:

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada See more »


Box Office


$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,287, 4 May 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,011,054, 19 October 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The real person, on which the character of Dan Mahowny is based, is now a consultant for a company that investigates fraud. See more »


In Toronto, with no other source of large sums of money, Mahowny converts a customer's $200,000 withdrawal to $300,000 to steal the excess. Yet when he arrives in Atlantic City, the cage person acknowledges his payment of $100,000. In 1980, $100,000 US would have cost at least $115,000 Canadian. See more »


Investigator #1: You've got a gambling problem, right?
Dan Mahowny: No...
Dan Mahowny: No, sir.
Investigator #1: Come on. You didn't get a buzz out of it?
Dan Mahowny: I have a... financial problem. A shortfall.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the end of the closing credits you'll see the strongroom door from the start again and hear the sound of the ball in a roulette wheel. Rien ne vas plus. See more »


Referenced in The Daily Show: Philip Seymour Hoffman (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Gem in minor setting
21 July 2003 | by sin-eh-fileSee all my reviews

This item is interesting as a film and for non-cinematic reasons. The film is Canadian, and tells the story of Dan Mahowny, a minor bank accountant who stole millions from his Toronto employer.

Two central performances make this an outstanding little film. I daresay Phillip S. Hoffman will never do better than this understated, tense character. Minnie Driver is also compelling in her role.

The film suffers from a first 40 minutes that are linear and predictable to the point of pendanticism. In fact, the film is very pedantic and comes across as a pulpit speech against the vices of gambling. On the other hand, there are moments of payoff, and scenes that work beautifully.

Candian viewers -- those with a sense of the subtle -- will feel a bit force-fed. There are dozens of local references that clang as "local color" -- to such an extent that one wonders whether they weren't programmed by the agencies that paid for the production. The references are like branding stickers on a nectarine. So you'll hear trite dialogue that belabors the

names of hockey teams, mentions CFL games, and reviews tourist spots in and around Toronto (Niagara Falls is prominent, and very little irony lightens the use of this hoary site).

At one point, early, action shifts back to Toronto. The shift is signified by a large, grandiose Canadian flag. The flag flies from the shabby entrance to a cheap appartment building. One wondered whether this was the Cockroach Embassy.

In her very first lines, Minnie Driver delivers a thudding, imperfect imitation of a Canuck accent (something like "Let's go OAT and ABOAT this evening.") I guffawed, but Americans will not even notice these things. Happily, Minnie abandons the local color after about 5 minutes.

John Hurt's performance is odd; I found it earnest, but hard to accept, perhaps because his lines were trite. Chaykin is quite superb.

The soundtrack is also Canadian. Taste will determine how you feel about it, but I found it occasionally effective and occasionally melodramatic, but always interesting.

Marginal characters are often amateurish. This film seems to be a rare gem of a performance set into a larger ornament made of lead.

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