The Cincinnati Kid
Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson
Steve McQueen brings his cool fire to the role of the Cincinnati Kid, a small-timer eager to take his chances in high-stakes poker. He gets his chance. Regal, ruthless Lancey Howard (Edward G. Robinson), the elite gambler called the Man, accepts the Kid's challenge.
Norman Jewison (In the Heat of the Night, Moonstruck) directs this taut exploration of back-room gaming, building suspense with each turn of a card. And Ann-Margret, Karl Malden, Rip Torn, National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Award winner Joan Blondell and many more comprise a full house of talent. Grab a chair and ante up.
Matt Damon, Edward Norton
A little drunk on its own arcane exotica as a gambling movie, Rounders is a film that takes us inside a world of high-stakes card players but falls short on such essentials as character development, relationships, that sort of thing. Still, it is a real curiosity, written by a couple of guys (David Levien and Brian Koppelman) who appear to know something about the dark underbelly of card hustling for fun and profit.
Matt Damon stars as a reluctant law student who can't put aside his subterranean career of playing poker and blackjack for big money. After he loses his post-grad nest egg to a weird Russian kingpin (John Malkovich)--and also loses his disgusted girlfriend (Gretchen Mol) in the process - Damon's character turns to an unreliable old buddy (Edward Norton) for a dangerous game of sharking wherever there happens to be a game underway ...
Behind all this is director John Dahl (Red Rock West), who is not exactly at the top of his game here but who brings his distinctive toughness to the crime-noir tone.