The Winner

  • 1997
  • Movie
  • R
  • Comedy, Thriller

A mannered, weirdly stylized parable about Vegas grifters, a rundown casino called the Pair-a-Dice and a gambler on a winning streak that takes a helluva turn for the metaphysical at the eleventh hour. As phlegmatic casino owner Kingman (Delroy Lindo) watches impassively from his perch above the gaming floor, Lady Luck suddenly smiles on despondent, Everyguy...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A mannered, weirdly stylized parable about Vegas grifters, a rundown casino called the Pair-a-Dice and a gambler on a winning streak that takes a helluva turn for the metaphysical at the eleventh hour. As phlegmatic casino owner Kingman (Delroy Lindo)

watches impassively from his perch above the gaming floor, Lady Luck suddenly smiles on despondent, Everyguy Philip (Vincent D'Onofrio), pulling him back from the brink of suicide and drawing grifters, con artists, thieves and thugs to him like sharks to blood in the water. They include Louise (Rebecca DeMornay), a bottle-blonde chanteuse who owes Kingman money; Joey (Frank Whaley), an excitable thug with a pompadour and a bizarre religious streak; Philip's felonious brother Wolf (Michael Madsen), who's toting their dad's body in a sleeping bag; and Jack (Billy Bob Thornton), Kingman's enforcer and Louise's partner in crime. The shadow of REPO MAN hangs heavily over Alex Cox's defiantly odd film, from the ominously surreal Western landscape to the glowing chip Philip plays as the passion play draws to its inevitable end. But fringe filmmaking isn't what it used to be: Movies like this have to compete with PULP FICTION -- dare we risk the oxymoron patrol and call it a cult blockbuster? Cox's eye is as impeccable as ever, and his cast is a cool as can be. But they're all undermined by the story, which wears its symbolic weight like a cross and a crown of thorns.

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  • Released: 1997
  • Rating: R
  • Review: A mannered, weirdly stylized parable about Vegas grifters, a rundown casino called the Pair-a-Dice and a gambler on a winning streak that takes a helluva turn for the metaphysical at the eleventh hour. As phlegmatic casino owner Kingman (Delroy Lindo) wat… (more)

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