David Mamet's hit play from the 1970s has made it to the screen with its grim humor intact. The story of a robbery that never actually happens, the three-character drama focuses on a set of small-timers looking for a big score: Donny (Dennis Franz), who runs a junk shop; his jittery young assistant, Bobby (Sean Nelson); and Teach (Dustin Hoffman), a card-playing pal of Donny's with a nose for a shifty deal. Donny has accidentally sold a rare buffalo-head nickel to a customer not realizing what it's worth, and so he and Bobby are planning to steal it back--and Teach wants a piece of the job. Mamet's trademark testosterone-fueled jabber is less about crime than about the ways men talk to--and at--each other. Hoffman is grungily appealing as a guy who always goes a step too far, while Franz brings a quiet power to his role as a man who always knows more than he says. --Marshall Fine
We're talking about money for Christ's sake, we're talking about cards. Friendship is friendship and a wonderful thing and I'm all for it. I never said different, and you know me on this thing, but let's just keep it separate, OK? Let's keep the two apart and we can deal with each other like some human beings.