The Independent Recommends: Film

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The Independent Culture
AFTER THE misleadingly titled Unforgettable, John Dahl is back on form with Rounders, a grubby little gambling thriller which sees a clean-cut Matt Damon (left) lured away from law studies and sensible girlfriend, Gretchen Mol, to play professional poker. The jargon may be impenetrable, and the female roles little more than plastic plot chips, but watching Damon and his low-life pal, Worm (a convincingly seedy Edward Norton), work a table captures the playful, adrenaline-fuelled bravado of the game. Maybe not Dahl at his seductive, noir best, but John Malkovich's ludicrous performance as a biscuit-chomping, vowel-strangling Russian mobster alone makes it worth the price of a ticket.

On general release

Phallic skyscrapers, Nietzschian ambition, sex and suicide combine in King Vidor's heady 1949 adaptation of Ayn Rand's novel, The Fountainhead. Miscast as the Frank Lloyd Wright-like modernist architect struggling to impose his vision on the world, Gary Cooper looks rather baffled by it all. A good-looking slice of Freudian madness.

NFT, South Bank, London SE1 (0171-928 3232) 6.20pm

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