1- Does the film work when there is no game being played?
2- At the inevitable showdown at the end, does the viewer care who wins or
Unfortunately, with "Rounders" my answer to both must be a great big no.
Okay, maybe poker isn't a sport per se, but bear with me. When you are
watching a movie the likes of "The Hustler", you care about what is going
on when nobody is shooting pool... or with "Rocky" you care whether he wins
or loses at the end, even though he loses. "Rounders" seems more like
scenes of people looking cool playing cards, loosely connected by scenes
tailored to make you care why they have to play cards. I didn't.
There also seems to be a severe lack of consequences in "Rounders."
Everything is made to seem like life and death, but short of getting beat
up once or twice nothing bad seems to happen to anybody. At the end you
are left totally unclear as to what is going to actually happen if Matt
Damon does indeed lose.
While both he and Edward Norton work well together, you wind up not really
caring what happens one way or the other. You just sit there thinking how
you would rather be somewhere playing cards yourself.
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