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  • Writer's pictureJames Rutherford

'House of Games': David Mamet's Quintessential 80's-Era Treatise on the Art of the Con

Movie poster for the film House of Games starring Lindsay Crouse and Joe Mantegna

“House of Games” (1987) is a superb psychological drama about a psychiatrist and author named Margaret Ford (Lindsay Crouse) who is confronted with a dilemma when one of her patients threatens suicide over outstanding debts to a criminal named Mike (Joe Mantegna).

Promising to be of assistance, Margaret confronts the shadowy Mike herself, only to be given a promise of forgiveness if she assists in a bluff involving a high-stakes poker game. Margaret’s curiosity and involvement quickly escalate as she’s taken under Mike's wing as a burgeoning con artist herself, learning the tricks of the trade from a seasoned professional—leading her down a dark path of deceit toward a conclusion of stunning and electrifying finality.

Written and directed by Pulitzer Prize winner David Mamet ("Things Change", "Glengarry Glen Ross"), “House of Games” is a quintessential treatise on the art of the con and the psychological foreplay inherent in such high-stakes games of deception. It's wildly inventive, superbly crafted and altogether quintessential Mamet, in his first foray behind the director's chair after years of stage and screenwriting. Top-notch 80’s-era entertainment every step of the way.


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