While Ms. Spenser was in FL, I watched a lot of movies that I plan to re-watch with her. But she was watching movies down there, and wants to share with me. One of these was Reindeer Games (2000). Since this is John Frankenheimer's last movie, and I'm beginning to like Frankenheimer, it was an easy sell. Also, the How Did This Get Made podcast crew did an episode that I couldn't listen to until I'd seen the movie.
It starts with Ben Affleck in prison. He is a car thief just finishing a 6-year stretch, with a cellmate, Nick, who has a penpal girlfriend waiting to meet him when he gets out. But cellmate gets killed and when Affleck sees that the penpal is Charlize Theron, he decides to pretend to be Nick.
He regrets this when Theron's brother, Gary Sinise shows up. He looks like Steve Buscemi playing Charles Manson, and has a gang consisting of Donal Logue, Clarence Williams III and Danny freaking Trejo. They have a plan to rob the Indian casino that Nick (but not fake Nick, Ben Affleck) worked at. And if they think Nick isn't Nick, they'll just kill him.
That is the first or second plot twist. There will be more. They do not always make sense, but you were expecting that, right? Also, you didn't believe Charlize Theron is who she said she was for a minute, did you? Well, maybe for a minute.
We liked this movie a lot. I enjoyed the whole low-rent look - it all takes place in Northern Michigan, like an Elmore Leonard story, and the Indian casino they were robbing could hardly be more ratty. Sinise does a great menacing psycho, although Affleck is a bit of a blank here. I liked all the twists, and didn't even worry much about how much sense each one made.
Now, the How Did This Get Made gang thought this movie was ridiculous garbage - I can respect that. I liked it a lot, though. It might have been better if Frankenheimer's last movie was Ronin, but I can see this. As I have mentioned before, I used to think of Frankenheimer as a "square" director, making prestige, pretty, stodgy movies (like Grand Prix). But he also made the oddball Seconds (which we haven't seen). So it's nice that he went out on a weird comedy heist thriller.