Written and directed by David Mamet, starring Lindsay Crouse and Joe Mantegna. This movie was pretty much universally praised when it came out in 1987. It is currently rated 7.3 on IMBD. Roger Ebert, no less, rated it four stars out of four and gave it a glowing review. I’m going to give it a six out of ten.
While I liked the film, and had a favorable impression of it when I first saw it in 1987, I don’t feel like it stands the test of time. It is well crafted, but so is a finely made piece of furniture. I can see the seams and joints and that seems to take away from my overall impression. I want to get lost in the action of the picture and not see the woof and worf.
House of Games is about a den of con artists. And while it is fascinating to see the cons work their magic, I couldn’t help but notice seeing them coming. And it is hard to imagine the central character being so gullible, after having participating in a con herself, not seeing the con being played on her. But I guess that is the beauty of the con, it’s human nature to want to believe it.
I loved how the film looked. Very noirish. Seattle at night with neon lights reflected in puddles of water and steam rising from man hole covers. Nice atmosphere!
Lots of Mamet’s patented rapid-fire dialogue, which can sound a little stilted and stagy at times. If only Mamet had succeeded in conning me into believing what he was selling. He already conned me out of my money for the price of a ticket.
House of Games is part of the Criterion Collection and is available on Amazon.