Rounders (1998)

Texas Hold ’em is such a fun ass game, but also deadly.

Fueled by his penchant for high-stakes gambling, law student Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) befriends and “befoes” a fellow gambling addict named Worm (Edward Norton) and club owner Teddy KGB (John Malkovich). But tensions run high when Worm and Mike have only five days to come up with $15K.

Now I do enjoy playing poker, especially the game Texas Hold ’em. So when I saw this film and the way all these strategies were used I was very surprised by how first-rate it actually was with the whole element of poker playing.

The film feels more like its a sports movie rather than a drama with poker elements. I was thinking about like a Rocky type film when I was watching this as how it ends with a big fight, when in this case ends with a big poker game.

I think the bad problem for this film is that it seems a bit too harmful for people who watch this, and are looking for careers. This film sort of highlights the gambling world as something awesome and fun to be apart of as long as your winning. This didn’t bother me as much, but I never understood why this dangerous life was all of a sudden a great and bright thing to do.

By the end of the film a lot more of this starts to seem a lot more predictable than what I was imagining by the third act. Some parts of this movie I have seen countless times before. Elements of gangster films like Goodfellas can be found here, and obviously sports film cliches can be found as well.

The one element that Rounders mostly benefits from is its great characters and the performances. Damon, plays this average Joe who gets taken back into the life he once was great with, and plays that side very effectively. The best character in the film has to be from the amazing Edward Norton who never seems to fail at everything he does. He is a trouble maker, but at the same time also a likable guy who is very colorful at points that you can’t hate him even though he is kind of a bad dude.

Consensus: Though a bit predictable, Rounders is packed with colorful performances and a lot of energy to make this film a joyful ride.


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