User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 18 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 1 out of 18

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  1. ChadS.
    Jul 7, 2003
    9
    Any person who has ever watched a large wager evaporate in the waning seconds of a sporting event will relate to the scene when a Tar Heel clanks two seemingly meaningless free-throws. "Owning Mahowny" captures the adrenaline high, the sinking feeling, the whole kit-and-kaboodle of gambling. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is predictably awesome, and John Hurt is compelling as a sleezeball, Any person who has ever watched a large wager evaporate in the waning seconds of a sporting event will relate to the scene when a Tar Heel clanks two seemingly meaningless free-throws. "Owning Mahowny" captures the adrenaline high, the sinking feeling, the whole kit-and-kaboodle of gambling. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is predictably awesome, and John Hurt is compelling as a sleezeball, albeit, a compassionate one. "Owning Mahowny" is a quiet picture, because its star chooses self-implosion as the road to self-destruction. Hoffman, the one with the initials P.S., is the real acting genius. He doesn't have to hit his girlfriend, or the mirror in a bathroom, to vent, after losing his money and self-respect. Mahowny thanks the casino manager, his handler, and leaves with a bag of ribs. His brave face is all-the-more effective than an angry one. It's a wonderful performance in a wonderful movie. Expand
  2. JoanC.
    Feb 25, 2007
    9
    I thought this was a thought provoking insight into the world of a gambling addict. Excellent acting by Hoffmann. Is Mahowny good or bad? Does he have an illness(addiction) or is he just greedy? Does he have a conscience? You tell me. A truly great movie. I was 'hooked' from beginning to end, but then again, I DO have an addictive personality.
  3. ButteredPopcorn
    Nov 16, 2003
    8
    [***SPOILER***] What fascinated me about this movie was the tantalizing way it played with where we might expect it to go as a movie, and where it leads us instead... In fact, the most mundane part of the story is if he wins or loses- we all know he will lose, most assuredly. That is a given, and the filmmaker treats it so matter of factly, the movie takes on a detached air of fatalism.[***SPOILER***] What fascinated me about this movie was the tantalizing way it played with where we might expect it to go as a movie, and where it leads us instead... In fact, the most mundane part of the story is if he wins or loses- we all know he will lose, most assuredly. That is a given, and the filmmaker treats it so matter of factly, the movie takes on a detached air of fatalism. The real story being told here developes true to the title: who owns Mahowny? Does the gambler have some abilty to keep regenerating what has become the greatest charge in his life - the thrill of placing the bet (not of winning or losing, per se). In fact, we are told at one point that winning only counts in so far as it allows him to place more bets. Or does the bank he works for own him? In some sense yes, as we see behind the scenes that they happily look the other way at his accounts as long as his clients run up bigger debt limits and reap them bigger profits. Or does the casino own Mahowny, who willfully avoid knowing too much as a means of limiting their culpability. Or do the Feds own Mahowny, who won't draw the curtain on him untill the stake becomes big enough to justify the expenses created in tracking all the unsuccessful leads. The real story here is this: the only certainty is that the game of chance doesn't stand a chance, and the invisible powers behind the scenes are really all we have to see. That's just the right amount of ironic twist and paradox to make this a faxcinating movie, for me at least. Expand
  4. BrettV
    Jul 4, 2003
    8
    Great story....cast was wonderfully picked....Philip Seymour Hoffman was outstanding!
  5. RichardB.
    Sep 8, 2003
    9
    I found the movie disturbing... discomforting. My gut tightened and twisted as I watched this average appearing man discard himself, his values, his potential and steal compulsively to gamble obsessively, without any hope. I could feel the pull of my own addiction. I was gripped watching him lose himself in a dimensionless world of gambling that offered nothing but a high. I really liked I found the movie disturbing... discomforting. My gut tightened and twisted as I watched this average appearing man discard himself, his values, his potential and steal compulsively to gamble obsessively, without any hope. I could feel the pull of my own addiction. I was gripped watching him lose himself in a dimensionless world of gambling that offered nothing but a high. I really liked this movie because it gave me a story and movie free of the pretty stars and commercial imagery. I got a genuine glimpse of a facinating story using real characters. In reading some of the commercial reviews I always find myself disappointed that some reviewers are served a good beer and tasty pasta, but instead they want a coke, ribs hold the sauce. So, you give them the ribs, and guess what? Expand
  6. May 4, 2012
    10
    Philip Seymour Hoffman and Minnie Driver give painfully depressing, but outstanding, performances in this gritty film based on a true story of a banking executive, responsible and reliable in every way...except for a debilitating gambling problem. Dan Mahowny (Hoffman) uses his clout and trust to manipulate the system to keep his addiction going. The movie is hard to watch as thePhilip Seymour Hoffman and Minnie Driver give painfully depressing, but outstanding, performances in this gritty film based on a true story of a banking executive, responsible and reliable in every way...except for a debilitating gambling problem. Dan Mahowny (Hoffman) uses his clout and trust to manipulate the system to keep his addiction going. The movie is hard to watch as the situations are very tense. The performances and direction are superb, though, engaging the viewer in the first few minutes of the opening scene. Expand
  7. Dec 27, 2014
    7
    This film is a success for one major reason and that is Philip Seymour Hoffman. It is no shocker he turned in a great performance here, considering he always did so in his career, but he truly carried this film. The plot is interesting, yes, and the other actors here, such as Minnie Driver and John Hurt, are also strong, but boy oh boy does Hoffman ever stand tall. Luckily, the storylineThis film is a success for one major reason and that is Philip Seymour Hoffman. It is no shocker he turned in a great performance here, considering he always did so in his career, but he truly carried this film. The plot is interesting, yes, and the other actors here, such as Minnie Driver and John Hurt, are also strong, but boy oh boy does Hoffman ever stand tall. Luckily, the storyline is also very captivating and hooks you right in as you realize what Mahowny has been doing and how deep he is in the hole that makes him do what he does. The struggles facing this man are perfectly portrayed by Hoffman and the struggles facing his girlfriend are brilliantly and beautifully portrayed by Driver, who is a close second to Hoffman here in terms of performance. Overall, Owning Mahowny paints a sympathetic and understanding picture of a man of a man who embezzled more than $10 million and is a success thanks to the acting and solid story. Expand
  8. Dec 12, 2012
    8
    What transcends and carries this true story of the largest bank fraud case in Canadian history is the phenomenal central performance of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Dan Mahowny (Hoffman) is a bank manager with a serious gambling problem. With his position, he has access to a multi-million dollar account witch ultimately leads to him gambling $10 million dollars in a span of 18 months. The mainWhat transcends and carries this true story of the largest bank fraud case in Canadian history is the phenomenal central performance of Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Dan Mahowny (Hoffman) is a bank manager with a serious gambling problem. With his position, he has access to a multi-million dollar account witch ultimately leads to him gambling $10 million dollars in a span of 18 months. The main focus of the screenplay is Mahowny's obsession and compulsion and it's devastating effects professionally and personally. It's Hoffman's ability to reveal to us that beneath his all consuming addiction lies a descent, desperate soul. Expand
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. 75
    Owning Mahowny may at times feel futile in its colorless, disheartening subject matter, but that's the point -- to see how barren Mahowny's life becomes. Hoffman gives the film relevance.
  2. There could have been life in the material, but no one involved save Hurt and Collins seems to have taken the time to find it.
  3. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    75
    At its best, Mahowny is intricate, engrossing, wryly funny, and strangely poetic.