House of Games - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

House of Games Reviews

Page 1 of 23
September 21, 2017
Incredibly poor acting. Only watch it if you want to enjoy making jokes throughout a la Mystery Science Theater 3000 or Plan 9 From Outer Space. One of the worst movies I've ever seen.
August 1, 2017
David Mamet's debut film House of Games showed some real potential in its first half but was let down by a predictable and flat final half. Its ending and great performance by Joe Mantegna wasn't enough to make this movie truly enjoyable.
½ July 22, 2017
Lindsay Crouse is so wooden. Lots of holes in the plot. A twist you see coming a mile away. Lots of small stupid stuff, like people whispering to talking as if someone right beside them couldn't hear. Or when Crouse doesn't notice she has sliced her hand open. It's all a bit ridiculous, cheesy and dated.
July 18, 2017
I have a deaf student enrolled in my Film Noir class. This DVD advertises CC, but there is do CC option on the DVD. Extremely disappointing. Advertise, but not deliver.
July 1, 2017
I really wanted to love this movie and hold it in a higher regard, but other than being too predictable and having poor first half performances, the last half of the movie is compelling enough for me to like it, but not love it.
½ April 6, 2017
A precise, thrilling experience like a predecessor to Argo.
½ March 16, 2017
When you've done something unforgivable, forgive yourself...
½ January 16, 2017
As thought-provoking as it is entertaining, "House of Games" is an inventive crime drama that's just full of surprises.
January 4, 2017
Mamet's first film is one of his very best. Lindsay Crouse is a celebrity psychiatrist who is drawn into the world of con man Joe Mantegna when one of her patients is threatened by him due to a gambling debt. She is drawn in and becomes his confederate in a series of cons ... or does she? There's multiple levels of deception happening in this film, but the beauty of it is that despite it being a skilled exercise in misdirection, the cons are not the real point of the film. The film is really about what Crouse learns about herself during the course of the film, and even that isn't exactly what it appears to be.
December 25, 2016
really good movie what took me so long to see this !! thank you mgm channel for showing this David mamets directorial debut if like movies about con artists check this one out !!
March 8, 2016
David Mamet's directing debut is a wickedly clever, poker-faced thriller about con artists, with high stakes, second-guessing, and twists.
January 26, 2016
Can't recommend this highly enough - very well-scripted thriller,perfectly paced and well-acted; plus it has a very stylish poker game; which is always a plus. A few moments of poor acting, but only from very minor characters.
½ December 23, 2015
It's a great directorial debut for Mamet. It almost convinced me, but the narrative and its predictability fall apart towards the end. Still, House of Games is enticing, tense and carries great visuals.
October 18, 2015
Probably the best con artist movie out there, and most haven't heard of it. Joe Mantegna destroys this role, you cant get any closer to a perfect performance then this. Most movies of this type feel over the top as if there from another underground world. This feels so real it makes you believe it could happen to you.
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
October 2, 2015
House of Games is one odd thriller. The world it takes place in feels empty; the whole thing seems to happen during off-hours. The vibe is on the laid back side, and carries the suggestion that one relax and be charmed by a bit of showmanship. Yet the film watches quick; the dialogue is all about making contact and moving the action. The delivery is artificially clever and dramatic. The characters feel so distant that I was not going to rate this up much, but then thought about it and realized the film still has a lot of good points to it. Recommended to those who enjoy character studies and a good magic trick.
September 27, 2015
When I first saw this movie in 1987 I thought it was a brilliantly clever thriller, compromised by a very wooden central performance. Seeing it again, almost thirty years later, I realise I was wrong: it's a so-so thriller, compromised by several very wooden performances and lumbering direction by its writer. A movie that is crying out for a decent remake with good actors.
August 23, 2015
Dr. Margaret Ford (Lindsay Crouse) has it all. A world famous psychologist, she has recently become a best-selling author for her acclaimed self-help guide; money visits her bank account like a pestering pack of termites. Most would find her status enviable, but an inscrutable discontent jangles around in her psyche on the daily. She chain smokes not out of enjoyment but out of boredom, as if it's the only sort of release she finds in her comfortably mundane life.
A rush of adrenaline comes out of nowhere one afternoon when a young patient admits that his pressing anxiety is not a matter of mental health but of fiscal responsibility. A compulsive gambler, he owes a sinister figure named Mike (Joe Mantegna) $15,000. If he fails to meet Mike's demands, his short life will end with a quick blast and a shallow grave. He's terrified.
Seeing opportunity to further her psychiatric knowledge, Margaret decides to take matters into her own hands and confront Mike at the House of Games, a gambling joint stationed in the seedy part of town. Dressed sleekly and clutching her cigarette like a gun, she looks like a femme fatale hungry for an entree of trouble - and, during her consequent meeting with Mike, she maintains an authoritative confidence sexy in its feral sharpness. But Mike isn't impressed by her viciousness, maintaining that her client only owes him $800. So he cuts her a deal: if she assists him during a game of poker, spotting for nervous ticks and catching the bluffs of his main opponent, he will pretend as though her patient's debts were never owed to begin with. Margaret, turned on by the new excitement of the situation, agrees but ends up getting more than she bargained for. After the game ends and her bluff spotting fails, she, reluctantly, is forced to cover for Mike and write a check for $6,000 to his violent rival.
Not so fast, though: before she hands the dough over, she notices water dripping from the gun of the adversary. A fake. The entire plan, you see, was a ploy. A con man of the highest intelligence, Mike, in reality, was planning to grift her out of thousands, everyone in the room a part of his slick team. Rather than hold contempt for the man, though, Margaret finds herself erotically infatuated with his level of cerebral strength: the thrill of the con is exactly what her predictable life needs. She begs for more, to become a part of Mike's tricky world of double-crossing. He agrees - but it doesn't take long for the normally icily confident psychologist to find herself way in over her head.
"House of Games" is the kind of movie you have to continually remind yourself to pay close attention to, as one quick diversion can completely spoil an eventual twist in the mind games. The repeated cases of whiplash in the plotting are far too ingenious to miss out on. Most grift central films are glittery cases of shimmering fuckery, wrapping their convolutions in packaging so keenly stylish that sly thievery suddenly holds a sort of vogue nonsense too good to be true.
But "House of Games", like the best of neo-noir, centers itself in a dark world of Lichtenstein paintings without pop art cheer; we are always aware that danger is lurking in every corner and that everything on display could be part of a complex con. Not once do we feel at ease during its cool 101 minutes - we feel as though Mantegna is pulling a fast one on us once again, that the at-once brilliant and na´ve Crouse is going to get duped after a stretch of psychiatric safety.
The smarmy smoke-and-mirrors attitude of David Mamet, a then-exclusive screenwriter making his directorial debut, is so terrifically confident that he becomes the ultimate con man - if he weren't such a gifted writer/director, he easily could have found his calling tricking wealthy old widows out of their fortunes. The clipped diction of his writing would seem stilted if placed in the hands of an unknowing filmmaker - so dependent on italics and extended metaphors is his screenplay that his actors don't so much act his lines out as they do become them. Mamet is more concerned with the mind games that come along with the plot twist of a con, and so the dialogue, a wily combination of street punk toughness and intellectual zing, makes every situation metamorphosize into something more subversive and more literarily minded, modern art infused into the devious mind of film. Mamet views linguistics as if they were a weapon, not a way to emotionally express one's self.
"House of Games" is a psychological series of cat-and-mouse, seduction chasing our common sense away as we find ourselves in the wrong over and over again. Deception isn't normally a fun pastime in the film industry, but Mamet is a master of deceit; we want him to play us like a piano. The excitement never ends - "House of Games" is a masterpiece of the plot twist.
½ August 20, 2015
In my opinion "House of games" is a con film, too pretentious, and probably the premise that the viewer should be deceived too, is left aside. After the first intent from Mike to deceive Margaret, and when she insists to Mike to take a part in the next one, I understood immediately how the plot would be developed.
August 6, 2015
Why did the guy fill the squirt gun with water? Who can't tell the muzzle of a gun from the muzzle of a squirt gun? Who hands their room key to the desk clerk when he goes out instead of just keeping it on him? What desk clerk immediately forgets someone just putting a key on the desk? Someone cannot have a shard of glass in their hand and not feel it. People can feel an ant crawling on their hand. People don't talk about a murder they just committed in front of a taxi driver. Genius con men return to the bar the mark knows about to divvy up the loot. Yeah-no. mamet takes liberties with reality that are story killers.
½ August 3, 2015
The ideas are interesting, but the film tries to handle all seriously a script which has, when you get down to it, all the logic of a comedy. An added trouble is that the acting is downright horrible.
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