Rounders: Over the years, quite a few movies have been based around the world of casinos – showing both the glamour and seediness that the industry can be known for. At the moment, there’s talk of a sequel being produced of one of the poker cult movies of the 90s – Rounders. Although the movie had only modest box office success at the time of its release in 1998, it’s attained a cult status among poker players in the years since then, and so there’s definitely an audience that would look forward to a sequel. However, although the sequel was originally planned for 2012, it’s already been pushed back to 2014.
Today, anyone can play poker safely at online casinos. Click here for 32Red online Casino for example, and you’ll see that there are plenty of different games and tournaments you can be playing within minutes of signing up. But just a few years ago, in order to play poker you’d either need to go to a casino or know someone who could get you into a game. This is the world that the original movie Rounders is set in – that of underground poker rooms. A rounder is someone who travels from city to city, playing high stakes games wherever they can and the plot focuses on two main characters – Mike McDermott and Lester ‘Worm’ Murphy (played by Matt Damon and Ed Norton respectively).
There are some weird and wonderful adventures and creatures to contend with along the way including a giant baby, and a sludge vomiting phantom.
The story starts with us seeing Mike losing his entire bankroll of $30,000 to a Russian player and mobster – Teddy ‘KGB’, played by John Malkovich. Mike, a law student, is shaken by the loss and swears to his girlfriend that he will forget about poker and concentrate on his studies. But when his long-time buddy Worm gets released from prison with a debt he needs to pay hanging over him, Mike agrees to help him pay his debts through rounding. We see his studies and relationship deteriorating as he gets drawn back into the world of poker rounding.
It’s a fast-moving flick as Worm only has five days to settle his debt. He wants to cheat, but Mike refuses to do anything but play it straight. Just as they look like they’re about to clear the debt, Worm is discovered to be cheating and does a runner, leaving Mike without a bankroll and facing the music. Worm’s debt is owed, of course, KGB, who Mike then plays to clear the debt. Of course, he not only achieves that, but also manages to win back his $30,000 and the film ends with him leaving law school and his girlfriend and heading off to Vegas for the World Series of Poker Main Event – a great place for a sequel to pick up!
Whether we’ll ever get to see how Mike does is one for Miramar, the production company, to decide. At the moment, Rounders fans will have to make do with watching the first film again on DVD!
Matt Damon image from claire_h
Running time: 121 minutes
Released: August 1st 2011
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Super 35)
Director: John Dahl
Producers: Ted Demme and Joel Stillerman
Screenplay: David Levien and Brian Koppelman
Music: Christopher Young
Mike McDermott: Matt Damon
Jo: Gretchen Mol
Teddy KGB: John Malkovich
Russian Thug: Paul Cicero
Kenny: Ray Iannicelli
Joey Knish: John Turturro