Owning Mahowny – Review

The film named Owning Mahowny, directed by Richard Kwietniowski is about a bank manager surrounded by two problems, 1. Gambling addiction and 2. Access to a multimillion-dollar account. The screenplay is based on the real story, the biggest one-man bank fraud in Canadian history. The leading role is played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. 


Dan Mahowny was a very successful, educated, and experienced bank manager who was also considered a rising star at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. When he was twenty-four years old he was an assistant manager in the financial heart of Toronto and generally. He was playing different roles in different circumstances. He was perceived as a workaholic by his co-workers. His other value was his attitude toward customers, being astute, decisive, and helpful. To his friends, he was quiet but humorous whose favorite hobby was to watch sport on TV, and to his girlfriend, he was a shy but relationship-committed person. He was not entirely open to anyone and nobody knew his other side, the side which made him commit the biggest financial fraud in the country’s history because of his addiction to gambling, and the fraud was continuing for 18 months and was worth 10 million dollars. 


First, Dan Mahowny started stealing money for cleaning his debts (more than 10,000$) and finishing with stealing more than $10 million. Mahowny had just started working for the company in his new position, after promotion.

He was so involved in gambling that with the first big amount of stolen money he even flew to Atlantic City to lose it, where he encountered the manager of the casino – ruthless and amusing professional. 

The newcomer was warmly welcomed and was singled out as a high-roller and offered luxury suite and french cuisine but his attention is only towards gambling. It is difficult to like someone like Dan Mahowny but some of the readers may identify themselves in terms of addiction to something. The only thing he wants is to win as much as possible and to lose them again. 

Dan knew from the beginning that he would be caught someday, but his main point was not to avoid it but to gamble as much as possible before it would happen. 

For many of us, and even for those who are actively involved in gambling or any kind of Casino games, it is difficult to imagine how the Vice-president of the bank would risk so much for gambling and the satisfaction he was gaining from it. To convert this action to nowadays and to present-day, the reality would be different. For example, there are already a lot of Bitcoin casinos in Canada, and imagine what would happen if Dan Mahowny had used this innovation in favor of his gambling addiction? This way, Dan’s transactions would be way much harder to discover compared to the situation that was back in 2003 when even Bitcoin was not created, let alone the Bitcoin casinos. Due to the high security of the blockchain system, Dan would become able to gamble and take satisfaction out of it even longer than it lasted. 


When we have a case of addiction it is a very sensitive topic, but when this becomes the biggest financial fraud, it is already called crime. However, it is very fascinating to imagine that Dan’s behavior which is known as the Country’s biggest one-man bank fraud, after 17 years might be a different story, all because of the changes and innovations in the financial market. It is a very interesting case and worth making a remake for today’s reality and gives an interesting storyline for the film directors. 

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