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Reindeer Games
Just released from prison, all Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) wants is to start a new life with Ashley (Charlize Theron), the girl of his dreams. But between them and happiness stands her crazy brother...  View more >

Starring Ben Affleck, Dennis Farina, Gary Sinise...  View more >

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Please Note: Reader Reviews are submitted by the readers of The BigScreen Cinema Guide and represent their own personal opinions regarding this movie, and do not represent the views of The BigScreen Cinema Guide, or any of its associated entities.

[--- Stay Away! ---]by  
Mar 3, 2000
If "Reindeer Games" had simply stuck with its initial premise and remained a routine action flick, I think I might have enjoyed it more. But screenwriter Ehren Kruger makes the mistake of tossing in plot twist after plot twist, all of which are painfully arbitrary. Usually, a script is the blueprint which guides a movie from its opening to its conclusion. Strangely, the screenplay
for this film keeps getting in the way.

Ben Affleck plays Rudy, a convicted car thief two days away from release. When his cell mate is killed in a riot, Rudy (in a moment of emotional weakness) takes the identity of the recently deceased convict to win the affection of his girlfriend, Ashley (Charlize Theron) - the only correspondence between the two lying within heartfelt letters. Having never met her new found love, she doesn't realize the man claiming to be the one behind the letters is an imposter. Things go without incident until her sleazy brother, Gabriel (Gary Sinise) shows up, demanding the convict assist in the holdup of a casino. (Apparently, he read some of the letters meant for his sister, one of which mentioned the convict's former employment at the soon-to-be-robbed establishment.) Unable to convince his new "friends" that he isn't the man they think he is, Rudy has no choice but to go along with the holdup.

For a B-action movie, that's not a half-bad setup. But soon the plot twists start to develop, throwing the movie disasterously off balance. While explosions, car chases, and a whirlwind of discharged weapons often seem lazy and laborious to most movies, "Reindeer Games" would have been better served with more of the above elements. The flaw is that after each twist in the story, the movie takes time out to explain the details of the twist. As a result, the action sequences are stunningly few and far between. The sour icing on the story's cake is the twist at the film's conclusion - a plot point whose only purpose is to make it more difficult on the screenwriter, forcing a contrived explanation of the details surrounding the villainous scheme. (To say nothing about the fact that the final action sequence could be staged exactly the same way without the plot twist. This movie stubbornly insists on doing it the hard way.)

The film was directed by John Frankenheimer, whose marvelous early work included "The Manchurian Candidate" and "Seven Days in May," but has been reduced to directing B-action movies these days. That's not necessarily a bad thing as long as the screenplay holds up, which doesn't happen here. The movie's script sadly doubles as the carpet being pulled out from under the feet of the viewer.

--Michael Brendan, "Mad Dog" Film Reviews (www.maddogreviews.com)
Jun 11, 2003
"Reindeer Games" made sound a little bit of a christmans movie, it's not. It's a another movie about a group of goons who tried to rob Las Vegas. Ben Affleck falls for Charlize Theron after he was released from prison and Gary Simise who plays the ringleader of his gang. The film goes nowhere.
Jul 21, 2003
Utterly predictable.
May 27, 2012

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