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Reindeer Games

Reindeer Games Theatrical Poster
Directed by John Frankenheimer
Produced by Marty Katz
Chris Moore
Bob Weinstein
Written by Ehren Kruger
Starring Ben Affleck
Gary Sinise
Charlize Theron
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography Alan Caso
Editing by Antony Gibbs
Michael Kahn
Distributed by Dimension Films
Release date(s) February 25, 2000
Running time 104 minutes
Language English
Budget $36 million USD

Reindeer Games (also known as Deception[1]) is a 2000 movie, directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Ben Affleck, Gary Sinise, and Charlize Theron. It was Frankenheimer's final theatrically released film but received poor reviews.



Nick and Rudy are cellmates in prison. Nick has been corresponding with a young woman named Ashley Mercer, who is waiting for him on the outside. But when Nick is killed during a prison uprising, Rudy takes his place and lets the beautiful Ashley think he's the one who has been writing her the love letters. Before long, Rudy discovers that pretending to be Nick was not such a good idea after all, as some fellow criminals intend to use him for their own purposes - robbing the casino at which Nick used to work. The film takes a series of twists and turns as Rudy discovers that he has been duped numerous times.

The twists include:

  • Gabriel, the leader of the gang who assaults Rudy and Ashley in the cabin, claims to be Ashley's brother, rather than an old enemy of Nick's as Rudy initially assumes.
  • Ashley knew that Gabriel was going to kidnap and force Rudy to assist in the robbery, rather than being surprised at Gabriel's abduction of Rudy.
  • Ashley is sleeping with, and in cahoots with Gabriel, rather than being the reluctant, abused sister that Rudy thinks she is.
  • The PowWow safe contains assault rifles, not embezzled money as Rudy said all along. The earlier scene where the tribal elders discussed how the casino was not making nearly as much money as other tribes' casinos was a red herring.
  • Nick is alive, rather than having been killed in prison as Rudy was led to believe.
  • Ashley is Nick's old girlfriend, not Gabriel's sister. She met Gabriel at a truck stop.
  • Ashley was not in cahoots with Gabriel, she was manipulating him to rob the casino so she could steal the money, kill him, and run off with Nick.


Actor Role
Ben Affleck Rudy Duncan
Charlize Theron Ashley Mercer
James Frain Nick Cassidy
Gary Sinise Gabriel Mercer
Clarence Williams III Merlin
Ron Jeremy Prisoner #1 (as Ron Hyatt)
Ashton Kutcher College Kid
Donal Logue Pug
Ron Perkins Ice Fisherman
Dennis Farina Jack Bangs
Dana Stubblefield The Alamo
Isaac Hayes Zook
Danny Trejo Jumpy


The film was based in Michigan's upper peninsula but was shot in Vancouver and Prince George, British Columbia, Canada.


The film received generally poor reviews and lost expectations at achieving commercial success. Theron considered it her worst movie,[2] saying that "Reindeer Games was not a good movie, but I did it because I loved John Frankenheimer."[3] A CNN review said: "Reindeer Games isn't at the bottom of his creative barrel, but it's close."[1]


  1. ^ a b Paul Clinton (February 24, 2000). Reindeer Games a loser. CNN. Accessed 2008-07-24.
  2. ^ Esquire: Theron is sexiest woman with pulse. (October 11, 2007) Orlando Sentinel. Accessed 2008-06-24.
  3. ^ Johnathan Van Meter (October 2004). Bronzed bombshell. Vogue/ Accessed 2008-06-24.

External links



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