by Peter Keough
The Ben-and-Matt local team that soared to fame with Good Will Hunting
has had some rough sledding of late. Taking the challenging higher road
with his Talented Mr. Ripley performance (one of the best of the year,
in this critic's opinion), Damon got stiffed in this year's Oscar nominations.
Affleck probably wasn't thinking Oscar when he took on the role of Rudy, the
ex-con patsy in the Reindeer Games, but his inability to buoy this film
noir soufflé from veteran director John Frankenheimer is perhaps a more
telling disappointment than that of his buddy Matt.
Rudy is an easygoing loser who doesn't quite have the moral fiber to resist
passing himself off as his murdered cellmate Nick (James Frain) in order to
make it with the latter's pen-pal girlfriend, Ashley (a scattered Charlize
Theron). In true Hitchcockian tradition, he gets more than just the girl, as
Ashley's brutish brother Jack (Gary Sinise, with biceps implants) forces Rudy
into assisting with the robbery of the casino Nick used to work for. Many other
strained twists follow, and it all would have been more plausible if Affleck
didn't look if he were hosting Saturday Night Live.
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