Owning Mahowny (2003) R
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Hurt, Minnie Driver
Philip Seymour Hoffman is my favorite character actor. He successfully owns every character in a way that lets you forget the story playing out on the screen isn't real. Hoffman's portrayal of Dan Mahowny in Owning Mahowny is no exception. Based on the story of a bank embezzlement scandal in Toronto, the movie successfully takes us through the gambling exploits of a classic loser. Dan Mahowny is a potential rising star at the bank where he has just been promoted to become the youngest assistant manager in the history of the bank, in charge of a very important client. The story itself reads like a classic Hollywood drama about the criminal who almost gets away. What makes Owning Mahowny so compelling is the down-to-earth believability of Hoffman as Mahowny. Events unfold at such a natural pace you can't help but want to keep watching to see what happens next. Mahowny is such a regular guy, you also can't help feeling sorry for him as he battles the ups and downs of his addiction, slowly slipping further and further away from a promising future and a normal life. Fans of great cinema should definitely check out Hoffman's stellar performance. John Hurt and Minnie Driver successfully subdue their normally star-caliber presence to deliver this perfect little story of regular guy failure. The DVD lacks any extras, but with narrow theatric distribution, DVD is the only way to find this gem.