HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Ladyworld
Rocketman
Kid Who Would Be King, The
Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound
America America
Darkest Minds, The
Along Came Jones
Hummingbird Project, The
Under the Table You Must Go
Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War
Hanging Tree, The
Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Scooby-Doo! Camp Scare
Itsy Bitsy
Witchmaker, The
Prey, The
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
Happy Death Day 2U
Full Moon High
Strange But True
Kamikaze 1989
Never Grow Old
Time of Your Life, The
Mountain Men, The
Epic
Best Before Death
John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum
Isabelle
Non-Stop New York
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood
Oblomov
Alita: Battle Angel
We the Animals
Ibiza Undead
Wings of Eagles, The
Beats
Body Parts
Shock of the Future, The
Friday
   
 
Newest Articles
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
Marvel's Least Loved and Most Loved: Fantastic 4 vs Avengers: Endgame
Battle of the Skeksis: The Dark Crystal Now and Then
American Madness: Sam Fuller's Shock Corridor and The Naked Kiss on Blu-ray
Flight of the Navigator and the 80s Futurekids
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
   
 
  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 1704 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
Darren Jones
Graeme Clark
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: