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OWNING MAHOWNY

A timid yet daring assistant bank manager figures out a way to rip off both his bank and his favorite casino.


CAST: Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Hurt, Minnie Driver, Maury Chaykin, Sonja Smits, Ian Tracey, Roger Dunn, Jason Blicker, Chris Collins, Makyla Smith

DIRECTOR: Richard Kwietniowski

"Philip Seymour Hoffman gives yet another bravura performance in ‘Owning Mahowny’ as a mild-mannered banker who pilfers from clients to feed his compulsive gambling habit...Driver has a pretty thankless, underwritten role -- and it doesn't help that she's wearing a hideous wig and glasses. But Hurt is oily perfection as the devious Victor, who eventually helps Dan move millions across the border." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"Hoffman is a fine actor in a rut, working on a string of socially alienated characters who are variations on the same theme. That's too bad, because the story being told around his static presence is amazing…The movie makes no effort to understand Mahowny's addiction. There is no clear sense of when, where or how the bug bit. He's simply obsessed and out of control…In the end, ‘Owning Mahowny’ is no more than a portrait of self-destruction, sad and imponderable." --Jack Mathews, The New York Daily News

"Philip Seymour Hoffman is American cinema's next anti- star…he is unglamorous, unapologetically fleshy and theater-disciplined…Hoffman loves misery's company, if ‘Love, Liza,’ ‘Magnolia’ and the ironically titled ‘Happiness’ are any indication. Hoffman barely cracks a smile throughout ‘Owning Mahowny’… Richard Kwietniowski's deliberately paced film attempts to externalize the very internalized agony of gambling addiction...Through it all, Hoffman mumbles and mopes with a signature intensity that is in danger of becoming a cliche." --Jan Stuart, Newsday

"Hurt's shrewd, shady Victor Foss is an ideal foil to Hoffman's deceptively unprepossessing Mahowny, a brilliant monomaniac who lives for the thrill of gambling and little else…The terrific concentration Hoffman brings to the part, his bi-play with Hurt, and the emerging presence of Driver as a woman whose love for a man remains undiminished go a long way to hold attention through a dauntingly elliptical plot… Despite the driven intensity of the banker, the film threatens to slip into the lifelessness of the drab world it depicts." --Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times

"Although he’s a bit too entranced with his own shlubbiness, Hoffman doesn’t do any of the obvious things that one might expect from a role of this type—he doesn’t trick up his performance with a lot of hot-streak hoo-ha. The trouble is, he goes so far in the opposite direction that Dan barely seems to have any inner life at all (and not much of an outer one, either). Hoffman has his specialty, though, and it’s not inappropriate here: He always looks supersmart and yet his reactions to what goes on around him are superslow. The dichotomy makes psychological sense for a man like Mahowny, whose brain isn’t wired to his body." --Peter Rainer, New York Magazine

"The only rush comes in the accretion of details as to how Dan siphons millions from the Toronto bank where he's the trusted young whiz of a manager. And even this is not much of a thrill: he just signs for the dough, and no one checks up on him…As notable as Mr. Hoffman's burrowing into the insides of Mahowny is, the steadfast denial is so complete — and Dan is closed off even from himself — that we can observe him only from the outside…In certain cases, like ‘Mahowny,’ the normally desirable virtues of modesty and detachment work against a picture to make it feel like an exercise in futility." --Elvis Mitchell, The New York Times