|Michael A. Maynez|
Matt Damon, the wunderkind of the new cinema, gambles with this one and wins dubiously, paired with another great talent Edward Norton, who creates a very interesting character by the name of Worm. “Rounders” really investigates the underground world of illegal poker and serves a very palatable plate of poker knowledge. The fact that it does not have the suspense of “The Hustler” or the “Color Of Green” can be excused, because it does have Matt Damon, a heartthrob and a half, and director John Dahl, has used his close-ups very effectively.
Edward Norton who was so effective in that Woody Allen’s musical, really surprises and delivers a very well investigated role of Worm, a recently release prisoner, who just happens to be friend of the clean-cut Matt. He draws Matt back into the world of gambling, after he has promised his girl friend Gretchen Moll, that he will never gamble again. After all he has lost the tuition money for his laws studies. Miss Moll is being touted as the new Marilyn Monroe; in this movie she is wasted and really lost in a man’s world. Hopefully Woody Allen’s new movie “Celebrity”, will be a better bit for her, in which she teams with of all people Leonardo DiCaprio.
John Malkovich plays a member of the American Russian Mafia, with an accent to match. He is too good an actor to need accent, but he does communicate the evil intent. John Torture knows his way around the poker playing arenas and delivers a solid performance.
What is disturbing about the movie is that it makes a very positive statement about gambling, so that its addiction is never really demeaned, instead it is almost a banner of conquest. Is this really the message the movie meant to send out, it really seems so, if so it is really more demeaning then we originally thought? I am hoping for much better fare for our favorite actor Matt Damon.
Directed by ------------- John Dahl
Produced by ------------ Joel Stillerman, Ted Demme
Photography by -------- Jean-Yves Escoffier
Edited by -------------- Scott Chestnut
Music by -------------- Christopher Young
Written by ------------- David Levien, Brian Koppelman