HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Meg, The
Christmas Blood
Equalizer 2, The
1985
Mowgli
Ski School
Ant-Man and the Wasp
Age of Shadows, The
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
Othello
First Reformed
Red White and Zero
Death Wish
Cry Wilderness
Heiresses, The
Millhouse: A White Comedy
Skyscraper
Born of Fire
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Lucia
Yanks
Sweet November
Ballad of Buster Scruggs, The
Real Men
Shoplifters
Redeemer
Incredibles 2
Big House, The
Night Eats the World, The
War Bus
   
 
Newest Articles
A Name to Conjure With: David Nixon's Magic Box on DVD
Which 1950s Sci-Fi was Scariest? Invaders from Mars vs The Blob
The Empire Strikes Back: Khartoum vs Carry On Up the Khyber
Stan and Ollie's Final Folly: Atoll K on Blu-ray
The Big Grapple: Escape from New York and Its Influence
The Conquest of Everett: The Kenny Everett Video Show on DVD
Bout for the Count: Hammer's Dracula in the 1970s
Nopes from a Small Island: Mistreatment of American Stars in British Films
You Know, For Kids: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box
If He Were a Carpenter and It Was the 80s: The Fog, Prince of Darkness and They Live
Tee-Hee, It's 80s Sci-Fi Horror: Night of the Comet, The Stuff and Night of the Creeps
Chance of a Ghost: The Uninvited and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
3 Simian Slashers: Phenomena, Link and Monkey Shines
When is a Jackie Chan Movie Not a Jackie Chan Movie? Armour of God and City Hunter
Anytime Anywhere: The Complete Goodies at the BBC Episode Guide Part 2
   
 
  Reindeer Games Won't You Guide My Slay Tonight?Buy this film here.
Year: 2000
Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise, Charlize Theron, Dennis Farina, James Frain, Donal Logue, Clarence Williams III, Danny Trejo, Isaac Hayes, Dana Stubblefield, Ashton Kutcher, Gordon Tootoosis, Enuka Okuma, Ron Perkins, Lonny Chapman, Hrothgar Mathews, Anna Hagan
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) has been serving a prison term for car theft, five years out of his life that are now almost over as he just has three days to go before he is released. He shares a cell with Nick Cassidy (James Frain) who is also being released soon, and they have become good friends, with Nick sharing stories of his pen pal Ashley (Charlize Theron) who has promised him a warm welcome when he does get out. Rudy is taken with the photographs she sends, and jokes that he should really meet with her first to test the waters, though Nick isn't impressed with that suggestion. One element that may throw a spanner in the works is a new arrival, The Alamo (Dana Stubblefield) who believes Rudy double crossed him and when a disturbance occurs, he makes his move...

The disturbance being caused by cockroaches in the dessert which sparks a riot, but Reindeer Games, also known as Deception, was one of those films where after the big revelations of the finale had you thinking back and wondering about details like that and whether someone at the prison had improbably orchestrated the foreign bodies to kick things off, such things being both the riot and what happens to the Rudy character. As the title suggested this was a Christmas-set movie, with the lead even presumably called Rudolph after the red-nosed reindeer of the popular festive song, and a short opening sequence consisting of a montage of a collection of dead Santa Clauses (Santas Claus?) to have you trying to work out where they fit into the plot later on.

There was also snow on the ground and the characters occasionally quoting Christmassy media, though really this could have been set at any time of year and the Yuletide aspect was more a gimmick to render this a shade more distinctive than it might otherwise have been. Ehren Kruger was your man on script duties, marking himself out briefly as a writer of twisty thrillers after this and Arlington Road, though that fell by the wayside when penning Transformers flicks for Michael Bay predominated. Some may have observed they preferred his work when he was not so bombastic in his stylings, but the truth was in spite of a downbeat palette here the way this moved ahead was towards a last ten minutes that were as preposterous as they were hard to believe.

Nevertheless, if you've made it that far then you might have found yourself quite enjoying Reindeer Games precisely because it was farfetched, but not in a roll your eyes, forget this sort of way, more in a traditional Hollywood thriller fashion that made it of a piece with the noirish heist movies of the fifties, complete with a storyline that sees to it the protagonist has to go through hell and is not even sure he's going to make it out the other side. It all starts to go horribly wrong when Nick is fatally stabbed by the Alamo while trying to protect Rudy during the riot, and on the day of release Rudy trudges towards the bus to take him into town when he notices a hopeful Ashley waiting outside the gates. Now, she doesn't know what Nick looked like, so our not-so-heroic hero sees an opportunity.

That's right, he pretends to be Nick, yet just as with all those other film noir leading men that slip in his moral compass provides the jumping off point for deep trouble, possibly out of proportion to his misdemeanour. Ashley has a brother, you see, so after a night of passion the new couple are making plans for the future and Gabriel (Gary Sinise) appears with his gang, beating up Rudy (Affleck does seem to spend a lot of this movie acting out pain) and demanding he show them around the casino Nick used to work in, with a view to robbing it. This was the last film directed by John Frankenheimer, and if no one comes across as particularly convinced they're doing their best work here then a sheen of professionalism, even a little finesse, carries it along with pace and a discernable sense of humour. The cast was a solid one, if nothing else, with a selection of character players in support to the three leads including Dennis Farina as the casino owner and among the gang Danny Trejo and Clarence Williams III, again leaving an experience that was admitedly daffy, but enjoyable too. Music by Alan Silvestri.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1212 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Frankenheimer  (1930 - 2002)

American director, from television, who really shone in the sixties with intelligent suspense movies and dramas like Birdman of Alcatraz, The Manchurian Candidate, The Train, Seven Days in May, Seconds and Grand Prix, but lost his touch from the seventies onward, with titles like The Iceman Cometh, 99 and 44/100% Dead, Black Sunday, Prophecy, The Holcroft Covenant, 52 Pick-Up, Dead Bang and The Island of Dr Moreau standing out, not always for the right reasons. Thriller Ronin was his swan song.

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Stately Wayne Manor
George White
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Aseels Almasi
Rashed Ali
   

 

Last Updated: