House of Games (1987)
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Mamet's directorial debut, starring the wonderful Joe Mantegna and Mamet's first wife, Lindsay Crouse. It's the story of a psychologist who gets interested in the world of con men and gets taken for a ride herself. An 80s film noir thriller that is actually very fresh and difficult to get ahead of. Crouse is a major distraction, in my opinion. I can see the reasoning behind a female character who is "plain" to the point of being "mannish", but she exudes a kind of anti-charisma and has a robotic delivery I find off-putting. Still, good flick.
Great story about human weaknesses. Now the problem with Mamet dialogue is you have to be a special kind of actor to make it sound real. Everyone in the movie is right on the money but the female lead. With a lesser story, the wheels would come off the wagon completely because of her terrible acting but in the movie, she's forgettable.
Brilliant film, very tense and tight thriller with pacy dialogue and great cinematography.
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In 7 official lists
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This movie ranks #40 in Jennifer Eiss's 500 Essential Cult Movies
This movie ranks #82 in Stanley Kubrick, Cinephile
This movie ranks #89 in Roger Ebert's Great Movies
This movie ranks #422 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #435 in TSPDT's 1,000 Noir Films
This movie ranks #704 in Halliwell's Top 1000: The Ultimate Movie Countdown
This movie ranks #810 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Cinema