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Owning Mahowny is a 2003 movie about gambling addiction with a cast that includes Philip Seymour Hoffman, Minnie Driver and John Hurt.


In 1982, a Torontomarker bank employee Dan Mahowny (Hoffman) is given access to bigger and bigger accounts with his promotion to assistant branch manager. His boss trusts him, but what he doesn't know is Mahowny is a compulsive gambler. And soon he's skimming larger and larger amounts for his own use and making weekly trips to Atlantic Citymarker, where he's treated more like a king by a greedy casino manager (Hurt) with every additional thousand he lays down on the table. Meanwhile, his girlfriend, fellow bank employee Belinda (Driver), can't understand what's happening, and the wheels go into motion at the bank when the first missing amount is uncovered.

The movie's focus is on Mahowny as a character - how his compulsion drives him and all the domino effects it has on the rest of his life. The love story between Mahowny and Belinda and the inclusion of other finely drawn characters such as hapless casino employee Bernie (Chris Collins) put the emphasis squarely on the gambling addiction, not on the flash and sizzle of big casinos or multi-million-dollar frauds.

Film critic Rogert Ebert [99463] named Owning Mahowny one of the top ten films of 2003.

The real-life story

Owning Mahowny is based on a real-life incident: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce clerk Brian Molony embezzled over $10 million from his employers in just 18 months to support his gambling habit. Molony's story was told in the best-selling 1987 book Stung by journalist Gary Ross, which formed the basis for the screenplay.

In an interview on the web site of Stung publishers McClelland and Stewart, Ross says he has kept in touch with Molony and updated what happened to him after the events portrayed in the movie. Molony served six years in prison after pleading guilty to fraud. He has not gambled since his arrest, has married his girlfriend (Belinda in the movie), has three sons and works as a financial consultant.


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