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January 04, 2009

Rounders

Rounders Matt Damon’s career climbs to higher cinematic altitudes than his limited role in "Saving Private Ryan" could allow. It represents as much of a triumph for actors Edward Norton (as "Worm,") and John Malkovich (as Russian underworld kingpin "KGB") as it does for director John Dahl. Dahl’s career enjoyed a thrilling period in 1993 with the success of "Red Rock West" and "The Last Seduction," but since then lost steam and output. His self-penned 1996 film "Unforgettable" went largely overlooked. "Rounders" is a brilliant slice of work ethic grafted over an unconventional and illegal lifestyle. It's primary themes lie in "grinding out" a straight living. John Dahl has shown by example that working through a productive career is work that doesn’t happen overnight, and a couple of successes don’t guarantee future victories. In "Rounders," a winning hand is played by everyone at the table.
Rated R. 120 mins. (B) (Three Stars)

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