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House of Games
Buy the DVD  Barnes & Noble.com
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Genre:Thriller
Year:1987
Rating:R
Length:1 Hour 41 Minutes
Cast:David Mamet, Lindsay Crouse, Joe Mantegna, Mike Nussbaum

A compelling psychological drama with Hitchcockian overtones, playwright David Mamet's acclaimed cinematic debut takes voyeuristic delight in exploring the seedy, dangerous world of professional gamblers and confidence men. Lindsay Crouse (Mamet's wife at the time) plays a famous psychiatrist who initially penetrates this world with the idea of helping a victimized patient, only to find herself mesmerized by articulate, sophisticated grifter Joe Mantegna and his fellow con artists. Eventually drawn into their games and addicted to the illicit thrill that accompanies a successful scam, she becomes a willing accomplice to the manipulative Mantegna, who's playing for higher stakes than she imagines. Director Mamet draws both his protagonist and his audience into society's dark underbelly, where crafty denizens ply their illegal trade with astonishing skill and attention to detail. Crouse is appropriately cool as the practiced professional who represses her amoral impulses, while Mantegna oozes oily charm as the seductive sharper who engages her in a suspenseful cat-and-mouse game. These fine actors, working from Mamet's elaborately plotted and elegantly dialogued script, imbue House of Games with a credibility -- vital to Mamet's premise -- that less talented performers could never have achieved. The new DVD release includes the 1987 film's original theatrical trailer. Ed Hulse

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