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February 25 - March 3, 2000

[Movie Reviews]

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Reindeer Games

by Peter Keough

Reindeer Games 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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