Rounders (1998)

I remember seeing Rounders in a theatre, and many times over the years because it is a good movie to provide background noise and drop into occasionally.  If you’ve never heard of it, well that’s odd, since there is no way the World Poker Tour or any of its variants would be as popular as they are these days if it weren’t for this movie.  It’s a very clichéd movie, but pleasingly so.  The lines that come out of some of the characters mouths have little to no weight to them, but they are meant to be powerful to one another.  The storyline is one we’ve seen over and over again, but again, it is pleasing and entertaining.

When I last wrote a review for Rounders, I gave it full marks, five out of five.  I can’t do that anymore.  It’s a very good movie, with decent drama and mounting tension when Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) finally gets near the end of his rope thanks to the near-crippling debt Worm (Edward Norton) has put him in, but it never feels out of control.  Kind of like the Ocean’s Trilogy, in that yes, they are constantly in danger, but they are just too cool to go down like that.

There’s some decent acting going on here as well, notably the scenery-chewing of Norton and John Malkovich as a Russian poker player, as well as the toned-down performances of Damon and Martin Landau.  Gretchen Mol also appears, and I believe this was the movie that was going to catapult her into “It Girl” status.  That never really panned out, though she certainly had a great look to her (and being completely male here, a fantastic rack), and it wouldn’t be until just recently where she started achieving any notable stardom with her role on “Boardwalk Empire”.

Very good movie, easy to watch, enjoyable performances, and easily the best Poker movie of all time.  Not that I can recall seeing enough to justify making a list of that type.  I need to upgrade my original DVD version to the Blu-Ray, because it isn’t anamorphic and looks goddamn stupid.

3.5 / 5

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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