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A young man (Matt Damon) is a reformed gambler who must return to playing big stakes poker to help a friend pay off loan sharks.
Starring Matt Damon, Edward Norton, John Turturro... View more >
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.
Jan 25, 2000
The most beliveable gambling movie. Matt was terrific! Two thumbs up!
Jan 25, 2000
Ann, Jennifer, and I thought this was the worst movie we have seen in a long time. If you think the gambling life is for you this may have some social value to you. Chookie
Jan 25, 2000
No really great underlying theme, no unpredictible plot. Just a good feeling movie that leaves you with the warm, fuzzy feeling that at least you understood what it was all about. The female co-star (still don't know her name) is pretty enough to watch all by herself. She was worth the price of admission.
Jan 25, 2000
When I first heard that Matt Damon and Edward Norton were teaming up for a movie, I immediately knew I was going to see it. Norton and Damon both have impressed the hell out of me during the past two years, both giving incredible perfomances in PRIMAL FEAR and GOOD WILL HUNTING. Then I found out that the movie was about poker (not a major interest of mine) and I was a little disconcerted. On the other hand, it still had two great young actors (out of a crop of young actors as talented as the young Hoffman, Nicholson, Redford, and Beatty crop in the 70's). Naturally, both are good in this movie as well, but the subject matter is a little perplexing. Much of the screenplay deals with poker terminology that I wasn't familiar with. On the other hand, a friend of mine is an avid player and he said that this is the greatest poker movie ever.
BOTTOM LINE: If you don't play much poker, wait till it comes to Blockbuster. If you love poker, see it now.
Jan 25, 2000
I can tell that fall has come. It's not because of the cooler temperatures, changing colors, the sound of the pigskin, or the stowing away of BBQ grills and swimsuits, which made me think that way. . The thought has returned to movieland, and the stakes of summers cinematic ante have been raised, and will continue to be, as we close into the winter Oscar hopeful deluge.
What a perfect way to start this, then with a movie strong on performances, mood, brains and logic, but a bit short on pacing and plot. John Dahl's first movie in 2 years (since 1996's Unforgettable (which was for some critics, but quite a joy for me), the card hustling/life lesson filled Rounders, shows us, throughout, that life is indeed a poker game, and that poker isnít really a game at all, but an art form. Mike McDermott (Damon) has mastered this art form, but one bad turn, turns him away, and towards a career in law. But the release of a seemingly true friend from prison, brings Damon back to the game, after a sabbatical, and, as one character puts it "..we can't control who we are, destiny, chooses us" so he's pulled back into things. Without spoiling too much of the plot, money is lost, found, and owed, to some not so nice characters, who are (in another of the movies wonderful analogies) "..piranha, who will not fight each other, but team up on fresh meat"
The story serves more as a series of life events. The effects of the choices that we make, on others, and ourselves and how things around us are indeed a gamble, and can turn on "a deal of the cards". Dahl's movies have been mostly hits with me (save the Val Kilmer snoozer Kill Me Again) because he is indeed a master at weaving a moral into a story, making the people and characters real, but dark, like people you know exist, but really aren't sure if you'd want to ever meet. The performances, for the most part, are solid. Norton, as the aptly named Worm, is a shifty, shady, yet mysteriously deep and elusive character study. He continues to amaze, showing flashes of brilliance again here, and an amazing versatility, he's going to have a golden visitor sometime in his acting future. Mol, as the patient, yet independent girlfriend, Turturro, as the almost-mentorish worldly wise "friend in a world where you don't have many" and Landau, carrying his darkishly creepy, yet powerfully paternal side, last seen in X-Files, genescized from Ed Wood, are strong in their supporting roles. Only the usually reliable Malkovich falters here. He was the sole reason that I saw Con-Air, and about the only thing I enjoyed. Here, he just looks silly, as the Oreo munching Russian poker heavy with connections. He seems to be possessed by the soul of Boris Badenov, and even his dramatic, power moments seem cartoonish and silly. But the true star of this movie is Damon. He shows here, more than ever before, that he is a leading man to be contended with, and that he can carry a movie. His strong, emotional, real performance, helps you feel what he lives, his ups, and downs, his desperations, elations, yet pull towards a predestined force inside him
Rounders hits, more than it misses. It is heavy on techniques and lingo, more familiar to those who watch televised poker, or frequent the smokey rooms of Vegas or Atlantic City. The darkside of those rooms is unwrapped effectively here. Dahl is an exquisite filmmaker and intense storyteller. He makes you feel and see sides of the world, that some of us would rather not. The movie is slow in pace, but then again, so is life itself. In the beginning, I thought I was going to see Good Will Hunting goes to Vegas (as witnessed by a nice scene at a poker game), but the movie ups the ante by going into the abuse of a talent, and the repercussions of the actions. Like only a few other filmmakers can, he lets you know the people here, and makes you care, and makes you leave the theater reevaluating your own life, and the chances you take. See a matinee of this one, if you are patient, or have a strong knowledge of cards
Jan 25, 2000
I thought this was an excellent movie. Matt Damon turns in another great performance playing the 'rounder' and the rest of the cast did a great job making this a winning movie. After seeing it I thought maybe only gambling fanatics, like myself, would understand and enjoy the movie, but as I talked to friends everyone said they loved movie and took something away they could relate to. I can say that too; one being the urge to go to Las Vegas!
Jan 25, 2000
Rounders,which stars Matt Damon and Edward Norton, is a movie which depicts very well how one man returns to a life he left behind in order to save a friend. Mike McDermott, who is played by Matt Damon of Good Will Hunting, is a young man who turned his back on the gambling scene after losing a large quantity of money. This in turn, changes McDermott's idea of gambling and he decides to pursue a career in law. Life seems to be going well for Mike McDermott at this point, he has a girlfriend (played by newcomer Gretchen Moll), his own apartment, and is doing fairly well in law school. All of this changes when his best friend Worm,(played by Edward Norton of Primal Fear),is in hot water. Worm owes a large sum of money and it is up to Mike to help him gain the money back in order to save both of their lives. The performance, in general, were handled very well. Each actor was able to successfully portray their character in a way the audience could relate to and have feelings for whether it be anger, compassion, or sympathy. The lead actor in this movie, Matt Damon, puts on a powerful performance of how a friend is willing to risk everything he has for someone he considers as a brother. The audience is able to sympathize with his character and want to see him overcome his problems and regain his lifeback. Edward Norton is able to portray his character so well that you are unable to separate the character from the actor. Worm is a character that the audience will love to hate. I feel that this was definitley the best casting decision in this movie. The only actor whose performance I did not care much for was that of John Malkovich. Malkovich plays a big time Russian poker player. His character basically has a bad accent, eats oreo cookies, and is the sole reason Mike McDermott and Worm are in their dilemma. If you are going to see this movie for the sole performance of John Malkovich save your money. Usually his performances are exceptional but this one is not one he will be remembered for in the future. For the most part, the performances are done very well. I would highly recommend this movie for people to go see. You do not really need a background in the fundamentals of poker to understand the plot or language. The plot is very believable in which a person can definitely relate to how one person (McDermott) could be placed in this situation. It makes people see the darkside of the gambling underworld and all of the corruption involved. This would not be a movie I would consider bringing the whole family to. Younger kids would have a difficult time understanding this movie and their are some scenes that show violence which also may not be appropriate for children. I would give this movie three stars.
Jan 25, 2000
I like poker as all true men do. Any one who does not like poker should stay as far from this movie as they possibly can. Might I suggest they stay home and bake a nice pie or knit somehting pretty for a friend.
For the manly men who enjoy this game of chance that is played by the gods in heaven. They should should go see it when they feel like really enjoying themselves for a couple of hours.
Understanding this flick takes some knowledge and attention. It is not your typical modern day circuss film. Great acting. Fun but not profound. Very entertaining.
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