Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

House of Games


As I’ve said before, I am a huge fan of caper movies, and movies about con games. This one ranks right up there with The Sting. It has a terrific script by David Mamet, terrific performances by Lindsay Crouse and Joe Mantegna, terrific support from J.T. Walsh and Ricky Jay (the world’s deadliest card thrower!), and it’s just all-around … well, terrific!

The problem with con movies is that I can’t reveal much of the plot, because it twists you around in all directions before finally revealing what you think is the Big Gaff. But then it turns out that wasn’t all, there’s another on the way. And another. By the end you are breathless. I pride myself on spotting cons. I was the only person in the theater laughing when Paul Newman shot Robert Redford in The Sting. I had figured it out! But this one totally flummoxed me, and the big reveal at the end just revealed one secret after another until I was stunned at the complexity of this Big Con. Along the way we see some other great short cons, like how to make a quick $19, or work the Western Union telegraph office for some dough.

Hey, I know that in real life con men are not really great people. You can cheat an honest man, though cheating a cheater is easier. And this movie is one of the most cynical ones I’ve ever seen … and funny, in a lot of ways. If you like learning about how Big Cons work, you really must see this one.