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Reindeer Games

Reindeer Games

Director:John Frankenheimer
Cast:Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise, Charlize Theron
Genre:Film, Action

By Jack Purdy | Posted

It's sure nice to see an old Hollywood pro like John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate) get a shot at directing a feature again after toiling honorably in the cable-TV vineyards of late. But except for a slick plot twist in the final 10 minutes, Ehren Kruger's script is yet another hip, self-aware crime flick in which low-rent killers crack glib wisecracks in between acts of brutality. Ben Affleck is Rudy, a chump of a convict who takes up with his former cell mate's comely pen pal, Ashley (Charlize Theron), upon his release from prison. But the two quickly wind up in the clutches of Gabriel (Gary Sinise), a Michigan truck driver with dreams of making a big score by robbing an Indian casino on Christmas Eve. The tasteless, ironic Yuletide references pile one upon another—Gabriel, warning Rudy to play it straight with him, says, "Don't get up to no reindeer games." (It's a good bet that Dimension Films, a sort of slum subsidiary of Miramax, realized that this would be a very inappropriate Christmas release and dumped it in the February graveyard.) Tightly paced direction, a fine cast, and a shrewdly foreshadowed payoff are all in the service of a story that vanishes from your mind 10 minutes after the credits roll.

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