Some movies exceed expectations, others fail to live up to them, and some fall exactly where I expected them to.
Rounders, starring Matt Damon and Ed Norton, is one of those movies. It's a small film with big names, with a good but not extremely exciting story, and nothing really noteworthy about it. But it is well done, has excellent acting and a good script, and turned out to be a fairly enjoyable film.
A movie about card gamblers, or "rounders," is not usually my definition of high entertainment but the movie works well in creating some suspense, some likeness for the characters, and all around enjoyable story. If any one word can describe Rounders it is "ordinary," for that's what the movie is. The acting performances are good but nothing exceptional (although Ed Norton continues to amaze me) and the story has its peaks but you can only get so involved with a movie like this.
I did like the monologue from Matt Damon that covered most of the movie, giving us insight to the games as well as about some of the characters. Sometimes voiceovers can represent a weak script, but in this case it helps us to see deeper into the character.
I would have liked to see more of Gretchen Mol's character and maybe have her and Damon work things out at the end. Furthermore, Ed Norton's character really disappeared in the last half hour, and even though the two have a falling out it would have been nice to see where he ends up. The movie also hints at a relationship between Damon and Famke Janssen, but never elaborates. So to put it flatly, Rounders does leave a few questions unanswered.
Rounders is not an exceptionally exciting film but it works its way from beginning to end without any major flaws; that was all I was expecting and that is what I got.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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