5.8/10
35,863
220 user 69 critic

Reindeer Games (2000)

After assuming his dead cellmate's identity to get with the other man's girlfriend, an ex-con finds himself a reluctant participant in a casino heist.

Director:

John Frankenheimer

Writer:

Ehren Kruger
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben Affleck ... Rudy Duncan
James Frain ... Nick Cassidy
Dana Stubblefield Dana Stubblefield ... The Alamo
Mark Acheson ... Mean Guard
Tom Heaton ... Ugly Staffer
Isaac Hayes ... Zook
Michael Sunczyk Michael Sunczyk ... Distant Inmate #1
Douglas Arthurs ... Distant Inmate #2 (as Douglas H. Arthurs)
Dean Wray ... Guard #1
Ron Sauvé ... Guard #2 (as Ron Sauve)
Ron Jeremy ... Prisoner #1 (as Ron Hyatt)
Hrothgar Mathews ... Exit Guard
Charlize Theron ... Ashley
Clarence Williams III ... Merlin
Donal Logue ... Pug
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Storyline

After being imprisoned for six years on a grand theft auto charge, Rudy Duncan (Ben Affleck) is days away from release as is his cellmate Nick (James Frain) who is is serving a two year sentence on a separate charge. Nick has a number of pictures from a romantic correspondence with a woman named Ashley he has never met but is waiting for his release. Rudy is looking forward to returning to his family and having a fresh cup of hot chocolate. Nick is killed defending Rudy during a prison riot. When Rudy Is released the next day from prison he recognizes Ashley waiting outside the prison for Nick and Rudy takes his place and pretends to be Nick. Nick had spoken of his previous employment in security with an Indian casino and Rudy finds himself involved with Ashley's criminal gun runner brother Gabriel (Gary Sinise). Rudy is violently coerced to cooperate with a Christmas Eve casino robbery scheme that Gabriel and his gang have been planning with Nick's casino knowledge as the key. Things... Written by Brian Orndorf

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The trap is set. The game is on.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 February 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Deception See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$42,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,128,356, 27 February 2000

Gross USA:

$23,368,995

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$32,168,970
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jerry Goldsmith was signed to write the musical score for this film for his friend, the late John Frankenheimer. However, the producers of the film did not like the direction of the music that Goldsmith had in mind, and Goldsmith left the project after writing a few demos for the film. This also marked the second project that Goldsmith had to leave, due to creative differences, or a scheduling conflict. The other was Frankenheimer's Ronin (1998), due to scoring duties on both The Mummy (1999) and The 13th Warrior (1999). See more »

Goofs

Monster throws a dart into the front of Rudy's shoulder, but in the next shot it is stuck in the back of his shoulder (shots of additional darts being thrown were cut from the final version so we never see this one land). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Rudy Duncan: [Rudy narrating] To tell ya the truth, I never was much for the holidays. It's been forever since I'd known a holiday, since I'd seen my family, since I'd been with a girl, since I'd driven a car. You see, cars are what put me here - Iron Mountain, Maximum Security Prison. I was riding a hard five for grand theft auto. Meanwhile, most of my esteemed raping and murdering colleagues were up for parole in three. The world works like that sometimes. All the time, in my experience. ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the commentary on the "Director's cut" DVD it is mentioned that an alternate ending was filmed where Dennis Farina's character lives. It was later changed after they decided he would have been a witness to everything and it would not have worked. Also several scenes were mentioned to be changed or heavily cut. One of them being a big reshoot right as Ben Affleck is going back to his hotel room after he finds out about Monster and Ashley not being brother and sister. See more »

Connections

References A Christmas Carol (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Little Drummer Boy
Written by Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone
Performed by Percy Faith
Published by EMI Mills Music, Inc. (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By Arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Are you game?
19 January 2000 | by KindoSee all my reviews

After being imprisoned for six years on a grand theft auto charge, Rudy Duncan(Ben Affleck) and his cellmate Nick (HILARY AND JACKIE's James Frain) are finally going to be paroled. After hearing endless stories during his incarceration of Nick's romantic correspondence to a woman named Ashley he has never met (CIDER HOUSE RULES's Charlize Theron), Rudy is looking forward to returning to his family and having a fresh cup of hot chocolate. When Nick is killed during a prison riot, Rudy decides to assume Nick's identity upon release from prison and meet up with the unknown woman. Burdened with a base knowledge of Nick's Indian casino employment past, Rudy finds himself in too deep with Ashley's brother Gabriel (Gary Sinise) and is violently forced to cooperate with a casino robbery that Gabriel and his gang have been planning with Nick in mind.

From an original screenplay by Ehren Kruger, REINDEER is very much in the same vein as his last script ARLINGTON ROAD. While much more of an action film than the paranoia drenched ROAD, REINDEER holds it's deceptions very close to it's heart as well. Who can you trust, and for how long? Helmed by esteemed director John Frankenheimer (THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, RONIN), REINDEER seems keenly aware of it's inane story, yet he keeps pushing the proceedings along briskly, trying to keep this casino heist plot afloat with good actors and a passable script. It's fun just to watch this tale unfold. All the professionals involved know this material isn't CITIZEN KANE, but as action films go nowadays, REINDEER's restraint is it's most endearing aspect. No pop culture references, not too many exploding fireballs, and Frankenheimer keeps the edit count down. REINDEER GAMES is a far more classy film than it's brethren.

It takes some time to get used to Ben Affleck as a tough ex-con. His baby face and peanut brittle voice do little to sell him as an action hero. As REINDEER trudges along, you get used to watching him act tough. It isn't the best performance that's come out of him (I'll save that honor for DOGMA), but Affleck is a likable enough guy and makes Rudy a character you want to see save the day. Imagine an aging lead vocalist for a Black Sabbath cover band and you'll have an idea what Gary Sinse looks like in REINDEER. He always makes a great passionate villain, but this time he takes his appearance one step further and actually looks like a threat. Charlize Theron keeps improving as an actress, but it is her new brunette look and honey smile that one takes away from her performance. She looks lovely in the snow, but not too much presence beyond that. The whole cast is somewhat stuck with Kruger's elementary script, and they all try hard to overcome it. It ends up being their individual charms that make REINDEER come out a winner.

I liked REINDEER GAMES for the throwaway Christmas thriller that it is. Taking advantage of the topical Native American casino boom and deliberately waltzing away from many clichés, GAMES is a pleasure to enjoy. We need more of these. ----- 8


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