Owning Mahowny

Director: Richard Kwietniowski
Screenwriters: Maurice Chauvet

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Mild-mannered Dan Mahowny, an assistant bank manager with a head for numbers, leads a quiet life. Steadily climbing the ladder of success, with a loving girlfriend by his side, he has but one vice—gambling. By day, he works at the bank; by night, he gambles obsessively on sports and ponies, and at the gaming tables in Atlantic City, but he is no Jekyll and Hyde. His personality remains constant, which enables him to keep his dual lives separate. Like a man in a barrel heading toward the falls, the stakes get higher the longer he stays in. As his debts grow, he develops an ingenious plan to play the two financial institutions—the bank and the casino—against each other, but even if it works, can he ever get out from under?

Quickly establishing himself as one of the great actors of his generation, Philip Seymour Hoffman fashions another awe-inspiring performance. Without saying a word, he can convey infinite emotion with a simple, cool stare down the craps table.

With a tremendous eye for the details of the period and locale, Richard Kwietniowski shows a striking command of the craft, making every shot count. Drawing you ever deeper into one man's addiction, he doesn't waste a single frame in unspooling this remarkable tale based on a true story.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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