Owning Mahowny | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Owning Mahowny

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Director Richard Kwietniowski follows up his impressive debut feature, Love and Death on Long Island, with this equally absorbing study of a compulsive personality, based on Gary Ross's nonfiction book Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony. Philip Seymour Hoffman, indie cinema's patron saint of sweaty need, plays an inscrutable young assistant manager at a Toronto bank whose gambling addiction sweeps him into a vortex of lies, embezzlement, and high-stakes casino betting. The manner in which the secretive gambler compartmentalizes his relationships allows Kwietniowski to use him as a focal point: the story unfolds in a series of individual encounters between Hoffman and the rest of the cast. John Hurt (the shy professor in Love and Death) is excellent as a hardened casino manager in Atlantic City trying to manipulate Hoffman into bankrupting a Las Vegas rival. A must-see. 107 min. Pipers Alley.

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