Rounders Movie Review
Rounders (the name is short-hand for people who make their living playing poker) stars Matt Damon and Edward Norton as poker playing buddies going in different directions. Damon, after losing a very big money hand, has given up his cardsharping ways for law school and a career as a lawyer. Norton, on the other hand, just out of prison, is eager to build a new bankroll at the tables. As you might expect, for a number of reasons, Damon cannot stay away from the table forever, and consequently his budding law career and relationship with newcomer Gretchen Mol are both put in peril. The trouble Norton's character (not so subtly nicknamed "Worm") gets into does nothing to make Damon's life easier.
Director John Dahl (The Last Seduction) and the film's writers glamorize the world of professional poker playing from the outset, so be warned. If you don't feel that you can sympathize with trials and tribulations of professional gamblers, this film is probably not for you. If on the other hand, you are like me, and not only revere the strategy, psychology and probability of gambling, but also dabble in it from time to time, you will probably be drawn in and (hopefully not) inspired by this film. (You'll still probably need to reference the poker glossary on the film site's web page.) Just don't let it make you think you are a better poker player for having seen the film. Trust me, you're not.
Newly reissued as a Collector's Edition DVD to take advantage of the current craze in poker. Extras are hit and miss. A commentary from Dahl, Norton, and the screenwriters is apt, but the commentary from real poker players is a bit absurd (they seem to think the characters are real people). Other poker-centric featurettes and a set-top poker game add to the enjoyment for the poker newbie or fanatic.