Rounders (1998)

(On VHS, September 2000) At first glance, this would appear to be a gambling film, but pay closer attention and you’ll find the structure of a typical sports film here, with the only difference being that the sport here is poker. (“If it’s such a game of luck, why is it that the same players end up finalist at the national tournament?” asks the film) The details of the game and the associated culture are fascinating, and the film does a great job at presenting the inherent drama of the sport. Great actors abound, from Matt Damon and Ed Norton to John Malkovich as a ridiculously accented Russian player. Maybe not as strong as it could have been, but more interesting than not.

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