“Owning Mahowny” – Nathan’s Movie Challenge, Week 13
“I don’t want to use up all of Canada too soon.”
As a cautionary tale about the addiction of gambling, Owning Mahowny is a success.
As a starring role, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance is a success.
As a film, it’s simply – pretty good.
It drags the viewer along the “based on a true story” scenario that seems unbelievable and plausible simultaneously. The shot compositions are solid, the mostly understated score is almost transparent, and the somber mood all support Hoffman’s extremely reserved acting. It’s a choice that works for the character, but it makes the film hard to watch and begins to drain the life out of you as you watch it.
Perhaps that’s the point, though. We’re obviously supposed to somewhat empathize with Hoffman’s character and the crippling compulsions he faces. In that sense, it’s a success, too.
John Hurt nails his role as the greedy casino boss. I didn’t care much for Minnie Driver, but mainly because the character didn’t have much to do in the script – not necessarily because of her or her performance.
It’s an unusual film, so in that regard it’s still an interesting watch, and it’s thanks to Hoffman that the film works. Without him, I could imagine the entire film falling completely flat.
Owning Mahowny was at the time of this review at #3104 on my Flickchart list of shame (ranked #4104 among the best movies of all time). Here’s how it entered my chart:
Owning Mahowny vs. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Sweeney is decent, but not one of my favorite Burton films. I think I enjoyed Mahowny more, overall.
Owning Mahowny vs. Equilibrium
Equilibrium for its killer action sequences.
Owning Mahowny vs. When Harry Met Sally…
When Harry Met Sally… for making New York a character all its own.
Owning Mahowny vs. Martian Child
Both rather dreary, but Mahowny is the better film.
Owning Mahowny vs. The Conversation
The Conversation is slow, but compelling. Mahowny is drab, but interesting. Could nearly go either way here, but I think The Conversation is likely the better film.
Owning Mahowny vs. Monsters
I enjoy Monsters quite a bit – especially towards its end. Again, it’s a shining example of doing a whole lot with very little, and that’s always impressive.
Owning Mahowny vs. The Amazing Spider-Man
Not much of a fan of the Spidey reboot. Mahowny is definitely the more engaging of the two films.
Owning Mahowny vs. A Nightmare on Elm Street
A Nightmare on Elm Street is a bit lost in its dream logic, but it’s still quite effective in its ability to unnerve. It’ll beat Mahowny.
Owning Mahowny vs. Lost in Translation
I’m not the megafan of Lost in Translation that many are, but I do like how unique it is and how much it stands alone as a film amongst its contemporaries. Also, any movie with Bill Murray or Scarlett automatically get a leg up. It’ll also beat Mahowny.
Owning Mahowny vs. Splash
Definitely Owning Mahowny.
Owning Mahowny is now ranked #595 out of 1389 movies on my Best Movies of All-Time chart.
My next three films will be The Sting, Grave of the Fireflies, and All About Eve. In the meantime, check out the other films I’ve ranked during the challenge.