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Owning Mahowny Reviews

Page 1 of 17
Lafe F

Super Reviewer

July 30, 2007
Philip Seymour Hoffman is great as the gambling-obsessed Bank Manager. It's really suspenseful and fascinating watching his gambling getting waaay out of control.
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

June 11, 2006
Hoffman is perfect.
John B

Super Reviewer

February 7, 2012
A great movie on the drawbacks of gambling. Once again, Hoffman is putting together masterpieces away from the view of most of the general public. A shame.
Stephen E

Super Reviewer

November 29, 2011
Straightforward but enthralling, "Owning Mahowny" is a rousing character study of incredible performances, most notably from Philip Seymour Hoffman as the titular character. Overall, the film doesn't feel like it's about gambling addiction as much as it is about one man's bad luck, but it has its moments.
Mr. C

Super Reviewer

October 14, 2007
for low budget Canadian films, this is one of the better ones I have seen.
Wu C

Super Reviewer

July 19, 2006
Great performances from the cast. Based on a true story.
April 15, 2012
Philip Seymour Hoffman and Minnie Driver give painfully depressing, but outstanding, performances in this gritty film based on a true story of a banking executive, responsible and reliable in every way...except for a debilitating gambling problem. Dan Mahowny (Hoffman) uses his clout and trust to manipulate the system to keep his addiction going. The movie is hard to watch as the situations are very tense. The performances and direction are superb, though, engaging the viewer in the first few minutes of the opening scene.
June 6, 2011
Phillip Seymour Hoffman is one of my favorite actors, mainly because he wears these degenerate roles so deliciously, that you can't help but think he'd be just as disgusting a person in real life.This role fits his talents perfectly, a banker with a secret Gambling addiction, which results in embezzling from his own Bank under non -existent accounts.Juicy take on a True Story
November 20, 2011
Based on true story about Canadian banker who gets addicted to gambling in Vegas and Atlantic City and starts stealing from his own bank creating huge debts....
October 18, 2009
good & real about gambling addiction & getting caught... enjoy true events type movies... Philip Seymour Hoffman was fantastic...
June 8, 2008
Another brilliant PSH performance. I don't understand how he does it time and time again. He must be horribly boring and uninteresting in person.
This movie delves into the psyche of a gambling addict. And it is a very accurate depiction. Excellent movie.
November 12, 2007
PSH is the master of playing a self-destructing desperately unhappy guy who is addicted to the sensation losing.
August 26, 2007
This movie is worth checking out. It had me on the edge of my seat from the very beginning. Based on a true story.
June 28, 2007
Feeling the stress of gambling. I could really feel his stress. Philip Seymour Hoffman really knows how to get into character.
May 9, 2007
"Some people believe we all have a public life, a private life, and a secret life."

Based on true events, the secret life of Dan Mahowny was a doozy!!! The slippery slope of addiction is pretty damn clear when you look at a man, who didn't have a salary over $25,000 sitting at a card table with $9 million only to end up with nothing left several hours later. And, STILL not able to recognize that, yes, indeed, he had a gambling problem.

It's a good cast...and, though I think the situation is interesting enough, the telling of the story makes for a rather slow movie. You see the man's life unraveling and marvel at his ability to keep it all together. The character Minnie Driver plays is saintly in her support of the man she loves. Though, some might mistake saintly with a lack of sanity for sticking with him.

I liked the ending conversation...the therapist asking him to rate on a scale from 1-100 the thrill he got sitting at the table gambling. 100 he proclaims. And, the highest level he'd experienced with any other activity outside gambling. 20. And, how he felt about living the rest of his life at 20. 20's not bad, he says. He can live with 20.

I'm not much of a gambler, but, I bet it's pretty safe to say he still craves that 100 on occasion!!
December 14, 2006
blah. hoffman is good and you relly see the depths of gambling addiction, but the story just loops itself four times, and thats it. kinda boring to watch.
June 30, 2014
A lot of movies have been made on the destructive power of all sorts of addictions, but few have matched the sheer desperation of the affliction quite like "Owning Mahowny". This sparse yet electrifying and haunting film is based on a true story, the largest one-man bank fraud case in Canadian history.

The screenplay by Maurice Charvet is based on the book "No Limit" by Gary Ross, and it smartly focuses solely on the devastating obsessive behavior of bank manager Dan Mahowny without all of the flash that you would find in a big Hollywood movie.

This is as real and painful as it gets, and at the center of it all is the mesmerizing and fearless performance by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. It's an amazingly layered piece of work, and in many ways it's even better than his Oscar winning performance in "Capote". You notice the way Hoffman is rarely able to look anyone in the eye and the fact, as one character puts it, you never even really know what he gets out of gambling. As it's stated in the script, he only seems to want to win money in order to lose it again, and it's never a question of if he's going to get caught: only when. Frankly, it's quite miraculous that he's able to get away with this charade for as long as he does, many time brushing away the harshest suspicions with a mere sentence or two. It's a credit to Hoffman, who sells it.

"Owning Mahowny" is a powerhouse film that lingers with you long after it's over with one unforgettable lead performance. Thanks to Hoffman and a terrific script, an ordinary subject becomes something special.
February 17, 2014
Finally a film that deals with the REAL, catastrophic aspects of gambling addiction. Thank you Phillip Seymour Hoffman for portraying perfectly (nothing new) this tunnel vision role.
And the subtexts of the greed of Zoss played by John Hurt, Casino owners and the gambling industry in general were also brilliantly portrayed..
I just loved every aspect of this film from those who were really rooting for him (his "personal" valet who was fired when thought he was lost to Vegas, rehired when he reappeared, and finally fired again when Voss knew Mahowny's time was up

I appreciated also the men in the control tower watching him and wanting him so badly to won.
. Unfortunately, his addiction was so palpable, that he couldn't even take one instant to appreciate those on his side. Only in the end did he realize his true comrades and appreciate his lovely girlfriend played by Minnie Driver.
There was something viscerally redemptive about this film. And I can't quite put my finger on it, but it might be that we have seen the stereotypical gambling addict as a "happy go unlucky", when inside he/she is dying in a vault of obsessive compulsion.. Nothing to smile about unless you happen to be John Hurt (marvelous) or the Casino owners.
I shall keep this film on my DVR until "I delete". There will always be room for this finely honed film.
Sarfaraz Abbasi
October 31, 2013
Owning Mahowny - written by Maurice Chauvet and directed by Richard Kwietniowski. Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman as Dan Mahowny, John Hurt and Minnie Driver. It is based on a real story set in early 80s - based on the book 'Stung' by Gary Ross (1987).

Dan Mahowny (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is helper and recently promoted to be an assistant branch-manager of the Bank. Mahowny's is an addictive gambler - he has been playing with large sum of the money to subsidize his gambling habits. He is a frequent flier to a Casino in Atlantic City. The manager (John Hurt) of the Casino is a greedy person who should do everything to please Mahowny by offering him lavish stay, courteous staff. Mahowny has been backing the clients with fishy records. Mahowny's girlfriend (who is also a clerk at the bank) is fed-up about his obsession with gambling and calls it his 'gambling problems' - Mahowny doesn't accept believe in it he refers to it rather 'financial problems'.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is gone from our world - he was one of my top-favorite actors around. I had always appreciated his acting skills, he was a gifted man with huge capacity to pull the audience towards himself. Hoffman's death has done huge loss to the Hollywood like a termite biting slowly on wood chunks.

In Owning Mahowny, Hoffman plays the role solidly and dedicatedly. Some should not regard it huge glamour and glitz that displays abstract life at the Casino (like Martin Scorsese' Casino) - but generally speaking Hoffman has actually brought in focus a habit of a gambler whose inner-peace is lost. Too many movies lay their focus on glamourizing the Casino life and charm of the so-called witty gamblers - Hoffman has indeed cut open the gambler to let us see what they actually go through.
Mahowny received six years sentence for fraud. He never bet again after what he went through. In Atlantic City the occasion became known as 'Dan Mahowny Day'.

NOTE: I have seen gamblers - they are considered untouchable souls of the society. There was this illiterate but addictive gambler in my neighborhood - once while at his routine, it was notified to him that his infant daughter was ill and need to be taken to the hospital. He conveyed his message to his wife that he should be home soon - he was still gambling and the news arrived to him that his daughter had died, even after listening to this he kept playing. The messenger told the news to the owner of tea-hotel where he was playing (the owner is my neighborhood and a friend - he'd told me whole story) - this owner after being raged by his miserable attitude, threw him out of the hotel. So, I could entirely correlate this bad habit of gambling with that of Dan Mahowny - only in case of Mahowny, who did not consider it 'gambling problem'.
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