House of Games

In playwright David Mamet's directorial debut, best-selling psychiatrist Margaret Ford (Crouse) decides to confront the gambler who has driven one of her patients to the verge of suicide, and leaves her orderly, antiseptic life for a visit to the downtown lowlife House of Games. Mike (Mantegna) turns out to be swift and shifty, promising to cancel the patient's debts if Margaret sits in with him on a big money card game in the back room. Fascinated by the similarities between her trade and Mike's - both study human nature and trade on trust - Margaret hangs out with Mike and learns, to her cost, the intricacies of the sting. Mamet's glee in tracking the rackets and his ear for the great American aphasia - 'I'm from the United States of Kiss My Ass' - more than compensate for the sometimes flat direction, and the performances are splendid.

Release details

Duration: 102 mins

Cast and crew

Director: David Mamet
Screenwriter: David Mamet
Cast: Lindsay Crouse
Joe Mantegna
Mike Nussbaum
Lilia Skala
JT Walsh
Steve Goldstein

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Eric

Horrible. Wooden acting and telegraphed plot. If you didn't know what was happening you are an easy mark as well and should watch your wallet around friendly strangers. Mamet's dialogue here should have been directed by someone else. It was as if he told the actors to speak the lines as automatons and to shed their acting training.

John Charles

Just got this film on DVD -- just as fiendishly convuluted and inventive as I remember. This film deserves to be up there in the top five of its genre.

John Charles

Just got this film on DVD -- just as fiendishly convuluted and inventive as I remember. This film deserves to be up there in the top five of its genre.