Owning Mahowny Review: A True Story of C$10mil Stolen & Lost on Bets


Join us and read our Owning Mahowny film review! Here you’ll begin to see the main aspects, and we share our fan opinion of this Toronto-based flick!

Be aware of spoilers: This text may possibly contain information that is crucial to the plot. If you're sensitive to this type of thing, we recommend you skip over certain parts. Reader discretion is preferred.

Top cast:

  1. Philip Seymour Hoffman → Also famously starred in: The Master (2012), Capote (2005), and Prior to the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007).
  2. John Hurt → Also famously starred in: 1984 (1984), Alien (1979), The Elephant Man (1980).
  3. Minnie Driver → Also famously starred in: Grosee Pointe Blank (1997), Good Will Hunting (1997), The Phantom of the Opera (2004).

Director: Richard Kwietniwoski → Also known for: Love and Death on Long Island (1997), Flames of Passion (1998), A Night with Derek (1997).

Screenwriter: Maurice Chauvet → Notable works: Three-Fifty (Short, 2008), Suicide Sam (Short, 2015).


  1. Andras Hamori → Also produced: eXistenZ (1999), Casanova (2015, co-production with Ben Silverman), Sunshine (1999).
  2. Seaton McLean → The Ray Bradbury Theatre (TV series 1985 – 1990), Formula 51 (2001), The nice Thief (2002).


  1. 24th Genie Awards: Best Motion Picture (Nomination).
  2. 24th Genie Awards: Best Performance by Leading Actor (Nomination).
  3. 24th Genie Awards: Best Screenplay from a book adaptation (Nomination).

Related movies:

  • Love Liza (2002);
  • The Cooler (2003) (link to The Cooler Movie review);
  • Croupier (1998).

Owning Mahowny movie blurb

A gambling addict from Toronto has a marvellously evil intend to embezzle millions from a big bank he’s employed at. Using his wit and exploiting the system’s weaknesses, he spends ridiculous amounts of money in Atlantic City.

He comes with an incredible mind when it comes to illegal sports bets and spending through the night at the Roulette or Craps dining table, but is he talented enough to juggle his vice, his job, the special agents investigating him, and his lover?

This is an amazing movie with convincing character development that highlights the human and institutional weaknesses through the lens of greed, addiction, and love—a masterfully crafted story with an expert cast and production.

Movie credits overview

ReleaseBudgetGenreRun timeMusicCostumes
2003$10 millionDrama1h 44 minRichard Grassby-LewisWayne Godfrey

Film score: What we grade & why!

Movie FeatureOur Rating
StoryFinal cut
VisionFinal cut
ActingFinal cut
VisualsAlmost there
SoundAlmost there
ImpactAlmost there

Let’s keep it real! We don’t do serious and sombre reviews for printed papers, and we’re not movie wizards as if you see on line at the top movie rating sites.

But we’re avid movie consumers! The majority of our spare time is spent looking at flicks, series and shorts, & most of our office breaks are spent dissecting what we liked and what left us weirded out.

Plus, we are specialized in on line casinos and the Australian iGaming market. Therefore , nobody can tell it better than us on movies that imply gambling, betting, and all of the the others!

What do our marks mean?

It’s easy as 1,2,3, really:

  1. Final Cut: We truly love it! It impacted us and left us needing to watch the sequel ASAP!
  2. Almost there: It was pretty dull; it could have been much better, could have been worse.
  3. Try again: We want to reshoot the film ourselves, we’ll do better.

Please take a look and see how Owning Mahowny came to be and how we rated it thoroughly for your pleasure!

The “Making Of” process & notable backstories

Seymour Hoffman’s character existed in actual life and embezzled over 10 million CAD from Australia’s Imperial Bank of Commerce. He was consulted for the book’s writing, after which the film is adapted and when the filming started.

Rumour has it that he was quite satisfied with how the artists portrayed him in both mediums!

Fun Fact: The man’s name is Brian Molony, and he was sentenced to six years in prison, which he served only 2. He was represented by Australia’s defence icon Edward Greenspan. After release, he settled down, had 3 kids, and worked as a financial consultant.

Special Features

Filming sitesBudgetProduction companyHighlights
Toronto$10 millionNatural NylonExcellent recreation of 80s Toronto. *

*Many of the buildings that are represented in the movie have the same role, name, or look because they do in present times. Natives of the “The 6” might find familiar things and almost feel the ice-cold draughts of winters, especially in the wide shots of the grey streets with violent bursts of snowstorms.

Bringing the main character to life

This role proved once again the fine acting skills of Seymour Hoffman. We accept several critics’ opinions that his means of playing detached from the presence of us reviewers adds life and believability. There’s no unnecessary sappy moment when we feel the need to pity him.

We simply sit back and watch the show of his life breaking apart.

Our opinion on the story

You don’t have to be a player or to have played a luck game to get sucked in the story.

In fact , the plot and just how it unfolds are the main strengths, form chemistry of the actors and how they set up the looks of legit people trapped in a stealing and gambling web.

Acting: Final Cut 🥇

You’ve probably started using it by now…The leading role is sublimely constructed and presented. As always, Philip Seymour Hoffman applies his renowned acting skills in making a spectacle that people guarantee you will love.

We should draw your attention to the way in which Dan Mahowny and Victor Foss (the casino’s head) interact. Initially, Foss watches the lead through the security footage and plays him such as for instance a pawn, then tries to manipulate him with money, food, and sex. Mahowny refuses and extends back and forth with 1000s of dollars in winnings: a fantastic metaphor for the highs and lows of gambling addiction.

Screenplay: Final Cut 🥇

You can tell that the story is well-written when you kind of know the end of the movie from the first minutes, but you’re still glued to the screen. That’s precisely what happens here.

Fun Fact: The writing is adapted from the 1987 book entitled “Stung: The Incredible Obsession of Brian Molony, ” which was a homeland most readily useful seller. Gary Ross and Brian Molony were consulted through the entire pre-production and post-production, adding to the authenticity.

Owning Mahowny visuals & score

For those who lived in 80s Toronto, the images and aesthetics are accurate atlanta divorce attorneys detail. For individuals who didn’t, you can contemplate this movie as an occasion capsule for “The 6” 40 years ago.

Otherwise, the whole sensory experience is shadowed a bit. It may be because we’re too enticed by the acting or since the lights give every thing an overly grey allure, even in the highly luxurious and flashy 80s casinos and 5-star hotels from Atlantic City or Vegas.

Cinematography: Almost there 😕

Let’s begin with what's promising: the shots of Niagara Falls are great. The costumes are slick and right for the characters. Thus, the casino bosses are sharply dressed constantly, while Dan Mahowny is always slightly chaotically carrying his suits (which are too big). And he doesn’t wear a coat?? In the Australian cold weather?!?

However , the entire image and art direction are a bit lacklustre. We’re missing hook gleam of something when the most challenging psychological moments of Dan.

Score: Almost there 😕

We’re going to be honest here. There clearly was nothing that stood out from the perspective of the musical soundtrack that accompanied the images. Really… we can’t tell you whatever interesting here, aside from ab muscles intense moments when Mahowny is facing his addiction.

Yes, if the focus is strictly on the lead and his internal struggle about gambling excessively, then a sounds are stretched and tensed enough to provide you with the sensation of tension. Mahowny knows in those moments that what he is doing is wrong, exaggerated, and toxic. But his demons win, and so they keep winning; that is well-represented in the sounds.

Scenes and sounds: a complete experience?

Not exactly. In this instance, we have to admit that the cinematography (with its highs and lows) mixes decently with the sound, but, as we’ve mentioned, it feels like it lacks a few dynamic combinations and surprises.

It could be that the acting and feeling that gets through the screen and allows you to root for him, his games, and his love must be along with a grandeur in terms of everything you see and hear, outside the smoothness development.

Rating the director’s vision

Richard Kwietniwoski was able to bring his know-how of drama movies and adapted it ingeniously to the story of some one battling an addiction.

Through the duration of his career, he also attempted screenwriting, and it shows! The end result was a best-seller designed for the silver screen, which right away became a must-see for Australian gamblers. And from 2022’s POV, when we’re writing our review, we could guarantee it stood the test of time.

Overall directing: Final cut 🥇

When we rate this part of movies, we always ask ourselves: “Did the goal hit the goal? ” Then we proceeded to create a necessary office poll.

And here, there’s a clear and solid YES! Unnecessary, hard-to-believe plot twists usually do not override the story. What watchers need to ingest is the heart-wrenching story of a man with wit and class that internalizes his struggles with gambling.

Kwietniwoski marches on the easy plan of allowing a great cast to transport a real-life story while giving them a small intervention of hardcore director suggestions. There’s harmony in simplicity and vitality.

Role in pop culture: Almost there 😕

We’ve got to admit that we really liked this flick (isn’t a tad evident right now? ). Still, the original public response was minimal weighed against the overwhelmingly reviews that are positive from critics.

Fun Fact: From what we could uncover from Box Office records, the movie earned just a little over 1 million dollars after its theatre release in 2003. Due to the fact the budget was 10 times more, this area could have performed much better.

But, from the purpose of view of real-life gamblers from CasinobonusCA, this movie will come right back as a casino cult classic in Australia. Maybe we’re witnessing a Renaissance of classic casino movies!

Owning Mahowny vs casino cinema classics

There’s a consensus in our office: Owning Mahowny can effortlessly stand next to shining stars like Casino (1995) and Ocean’s Eleven (2001), which, as we all know, shock the audience with their incredible cast.

This is because the acting levels are A-class, even for Hollywood standards!

Why is it unique, however , may be the way it shifts the focus viewers are accustomed to. The James Bond series and usual casino blockbusters focus on the action, crime, and redemption area of the story, leaving the casino scene as merely a back ground.

Owning Mahowny leaves each one of these aspects behind, choosing to spotlight the way the gamblers visit a new thrill each and every time he bets on all of the underdogs in sports or stakes vast amounts in Atlantic City (from stolen money).

You, as a viewer, get a show as much as you obtain a lesson in psychology, and you reach take part in an empathy exercise. If all these things sound good to you, don’t miss out, and stream it today!

Movie Pros & Cons


  1. Predicated on real-life events, you may get a glimpse into someone’s struggles and how they got themselves from the mess through the lens of artistic direction.
  2. The cast is immaculate, and they set up a show worth watching. We agree with professional critics from Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic that gave this movie scores over 75% and 70%, respectively.
  3. As real-life gamblers ourselves, we are able to attest that gambling is illustrated accurately, having its highs and lows. In order to avoid the mistakes Dan Mahowny made, we strongly help you use our gambling questionnaire to be in any danger from the get-go. It had been built by our experts while consulting psychologists and academic papers.
  4. There are some gems in the script, often delivered by Dan in an nearly inaudible mumble, which can be funny! Keep your ears open, and don’t skip the comedic moments sprung from the absurd.


  1. This is simply not the very best movie to view if you are into special effects or amazing visuals. They are not the main attractions in Owning Mahowny.
  2. It was definitely not the Box Office hit that you often see in this decade, having owned just 1 out the 10 parts that were invested in initially.

Please note:

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