Canadian filmmakers have made a few movies about casinos, but none of them compare to Owning Mahowny, a gem released in 2003. Directed by Richard Kwietniowski, it covers the subject of addiction thrillingly and compellingly. However, despite praise from critics, viewers have found plenty of holes in the plot.
Compulsive gambling, cheating and soaring debt have been covered in other Canadian movies like Cold Deck, Lucky Girl, and The Last Casino. The best reviews you can find here reveal the most addictive games in history. In Owning Mahowny, table classics are in the spotlight, and the script is based on a true story of embezzlement.
Summary of The Plot
Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the part of Dan Mahowny, a bank employee with a penchant for gambling. His pristine reputation allows him to steal money from the bank’s accounts, so he can pay for his worsening addiction. Gradually, gambling debts grow, and Dan’s life predictably spirals out of control. So, what about the goofs?
Planes from the Future
At the beginning of the movie, Dan is shown sitting in his car in the garage of Terminal 1. The movie is set in 1980, but we can see Airbus A320’s and Canadair regional jets on the runway and taxiway. Neither of the planes had been invented by that time.
Currency Exchange Rate Is Ignored
Dan gets CA $15,000 from the bank where he works. He flies across the border to a casino in Atlantic City (US), where the cashier gives him the US $15,000 worth of chips. Even in 1980, the two currencies had different values!
Back then, the exchange would have given only $13,000. We also know that the character is broke. Finding the missing $2,000 elsewhere was impossible.
The movie is a treasure trove of continuity goofs. For example, when Mahowny approaches Doug to ask for his money back, he is playing a slot machine. The lights and flashing on the adjacent slot are different in different shots.
When Mahowny loses what is left of his money at blackjack, we see him sitting with his right arm on the arm of the chair. Afterwards, footage from the casino’s security cameras shows him in a very different position — with hands clasped in his lap.
In one scene, Mahowny is talking to Belinda in bed. He tells her they should get away from the weekend. At this moment, the bed cover at the top is folded back. In the next shot of the room, it is unfolded.
In another scene, Mahowny is walking down an escalator. Meanwhile, two men are going up. The next shot from the bottom shows a different group of people — two other men and a woman.
Plane Registration Mix-Up
This is another foolish error that could have been avoided easily. In the movie, the casino in Atlantic City sends a plane for Mahoney. We can see that it has a C registration, which is used for Canadian aircraft. If the plane was sent from the US, it would have had an N registration instead.
Then, when a policeman from Toronto phones somebody to ask for the flight plan for this private jet, he gives a registration. Immediately afterwards, Mahoney is shown getting out of the plane in Atlantic City. However, the plane has another registration number on its engine cowl.
The Bottom Line
These goofs are unfortunate, but they do not affect the artistic value of the thriller. Owning Mahowny is still a solid movie raising important issues. Today, they are just as relevant as in the 1980s.