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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fickle Lady Luck
Like William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman might not fit the usual preconception of cinematic Leading Man. Yet, in 2003, both have the lead in movies about gambling or the gambling industry. For Macy, it was THE COOLER, for which he received a Best Actor Oscar nomination. For Hoffman, it was OWNING MAHOWNY. In their respective films, the character portrayed by each...
Published on 26 May 2004 by Joseph Haschka

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Quest For Sensation...
..must be what drives the protagonist here, a bank exec from Toronto who only comes half alive when gambling. His losses start to require an unauthorized withdrawal or three, firstly when his local Mafia bookie slob leans on him for about $10K, then, after a trip to Atlantic City, for $100K and up. John Hurt plays the Atlantic City casino director, who tries to give the...
Published on 4 Feb 2008 by Ian Millard


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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fickle Lady Luck, 26 May 2004
By 
Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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Like William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman might not fit the usual preconception of cinematic Leading Man. Yet, in 2003, both have the lead in movies about gambling or the gambling industry. For Macy, it was THE COOLER, for which he received a Best Actor Oscar nomination. For Hoffman, it was OWNING MAHOWNY. In their respective films, the character portrayed by each loses his job because he's either embraced or shunned by Lady Luck.
In OWNING MAHOWNY, based on a true story, Hoffman is cast in the title role as the high ranking executive in charge of loans for a Toronto bank. Mahowny also has a gambling addiction, and is indebted to his bookie (Maury Chakin) for slightly over ten grand. To cover his marker, Mahowny creates a fictional loan account, and draws cash from it. Going a step further, he approves cash loans to an existing but unsuspecting customer with a large credit limit, and takes the money on weekend trips to Atlantic City, where he consistently loses at dice, cards, and roulette. By the time he's found out, Mahowny has embezzled over $10 million.
The creators of this film made no attempt whatsoever to render the Mahowny persona attractive to the audience, and it's a wonder he even has a fiancee, Lisa (Minnie Driver). Indeed, Mahowny is so focused on gambling that when the casino manager, Mr. Foss (John Hurt), sends to his suite a complimentary courtesan, who sheds her fur coat to reveal not inconsiderable charms, Mahowny only tells her "You've made a mistake." And he really means it; he only courts Lady Luck. Our hero is so indifferent to anything other than playing the odds that he isn't even somebody with whom you'd consider having a friendly beer. He's single-minded to the point of boorishness.
One can't help but make the comparison between Foss and Shelly Kaplow, the manager of the Shangri-La Casino in THE COOLER. Alec Baldwin received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for the latter role, and should have been, I think, the rightful winner of the award. Both Foss and Kaplow are control freaks. But, while Foss is almost coldly clinical in his manipulation of the high rollers that keep his house profitable, Kaplow is a tempestuous character capable of deep emotions, including a volcanic anger that can erupt into shocking violence. Compared to Kaplow, Foss is almost prissy. Baldwin had the meatier and more complex role, though Hurt's performance is excellent.
Films about the sickness of obsessive gambling are few and far between. I haven't seen one as effective as OWNING MAHOWNY since the 1974 movie THE GAMBLER starring James Caan. Though OWNING MAHOWNY is perhaps an art house film not likely to appeal to a wide audience, it gets its message across superbly. Now, how do I tell the wife that I lost the kitchen remodel fund at the track?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Quest For Sensation..., 4 Feb 2008
By 
Ian Millard - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Owning Mahowny [DVD] (DVD)
..must be what drives the protagonist here, a bank exec from Toronto who only comes half alive when gambling. His losses start to require an unauthorized withdrawal or three, firstly when his local Mafia bookie slob leans on him for about $10K, then, after a trip to Atlantic City, for $100K and up. John Hurt plays the Atlantic City casino director, who tries to give the new high roller anything he desires (a fantastic suite, champagne, a sexy woman naked save for lingerie under her long fur coat...even a private jet) only to find that Mahowny wants nothing but to gamble, save for the odd "spare rib --no sauce-- and a Coca Cola". At one point this terminally boring man is actually UP by about $9 million and Hurt's Mafia boss warns him not to let him walk with it...Hurt has a plan to stop that, but it is never put into effect, because Mahowny loses the lot and his, I think it was, $5 million stake money from the bank. In the end he is arrested, long suffering girlfriend Minnie Driver sticks with him (puzzlingly, for he has less personality than a spare rib, no sauce) and after arrest and release he explains to a psychiatrist that gambling gives him 100% excitement whereas the most excitement he has from anything else is 20%. Pity they did not ask the girlfriend! I expect she would say she only got 2% excitement out of this character! Unfortunately the film is too faithful to its dull subject. Not something one would want to see more than once, but well done for what it is, anyway.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good performance, 26 Mar 2013
By 
Meecymoo (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Owning Mahowny [DVD] (DVD)
PSH puts in a credible performance. His addicted gambler was believable and at times painful to watch in terms of the absolute denial of the addict. The gambling scenes are well shot and overall the director does a good job of slowly building the tension which accentuates the end of seat dynamic. Worth watching if you are a PSH fan and enjoy a jaunt into the mind of an addict.
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5.0 out of 5 stars owning mahowny, 22 April 2014
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This review is from: Owning Mahowny [DVD] (DVD)
As always Philip Seymour Hoffmnan stole every scene ,I didn't realise that it was based on a true story ,thoroughly enjoyable .
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I AM ADDICTED, 3 Aug 2012
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This review is from: Owning Mahowny [DVD] (DVD)
I SHARED THE VIEWING OF THIS DVD WITH A FELLOW SUFFERER..I APPRECIATE MANY NORMAL NON GAMBLING PEOPLE MAY NOT APPRECIATE THIS GEM..BUT ANYONE WITH A LEANING TOWARDS THAT PARTICULAR VICE WILL BE SQUIRMING IN THEIR SEATS WATCHING THIS....NOT SAYING IT WILL HELP CURE YOU BUT IT IS WORTH THE VIEWING ALL THE SAME
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Owning Mahowny, 6 Aug 2005
This review is from: Owning Mahowny [DVD] (DVD)
Phillip Hoffman, is I'm sure excellent in his potrayal of Dan Mahowny, a 30 something banker with a gambling addiction. There is just one minor problem, as it turns out Dan Mahowny is the most intensely boring man on earth. Why this film was ever made is beyond me. I am one of those people who no matter how boring a film is will always watch to the end. This is the only film (and I say this as a man who has seen a lot of films) that I just couldn't. Its dull. Dan Mahowny is a gambler who shows no emotion other then misery when he wins or loses, his girlfriend shows no emotion whether she knows what he's winning or losing, the script is virtually monosylabic (monasylabic - who knows, who cares), void of humour and should have been burned as soon as it hit the desk of which ever film exec agreed to pump money into this piece of garbage. The last 30 minutes may be great but I'll never know because enduring the first hour was too much for me, I highly recommend this movie if you want to send yourself into a very deep sleep. Incidentely Love Liza also sterring Phillip Hofman is superb, watch that instead if you haven't seen it.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Some one got it wrong!, 9 Jun 2010
By 
MRHCROSSLEY "bookhound" (Isle of Man) - See all my reviews
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When I tried to watch this video I was given the message 'cannot be viewed in this area'. Therefore, I cannot review it. Someone got the regions mixed up for this product.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars unseen, 11 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Owning Mahowny [DVD] (DVD)
Ordered this film from some Irish company called BRIDGE RECORDS never got the film no sign of getting any money back, i remember seeing the film years ago and would have loved to see it again so it's unfair to give such a film a 1 star rating when its BRIDGE RECORDS that are at fault, the film as i remember was very good.
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Owning Mahowny [DVD]
Owning Mahowny [DVD] by Richard Kwietniowski (DVD - 2004)
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