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Details At A Glance

Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer(s) Yes, 1
Rating Other Trailer(s) Yes, 1 - Dolby Digital Canyon
Year Released 1998 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time
115:52 minutes
(not 120 as per cover)
Other Extras Cast Biographies
Featurette - On The Set (4 mins)
Cast & Crew Interviews
Menu Audio
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 4 Director John Dahl

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Matt Damon
Edward Norton
John Turturro
Famke Janssen
Gretchen Mol
John Malkovich
Martin Landau
RRP $34.95 Music Christopher Young

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG 2.0 
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Dolby Digital 5.1
16x9 Enhancement Yes Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
English (MPEG 2.0 )
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking Yes
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement Yes, mildly 

Plot Synopsis

    Mike McDermott (Matt Dillon) is a Rounder. That is, he is a professional poker player. Or he was. He's given the game away ever since he was wiped out completely by another card player, Teddy KGB (John Malkovich).

    Nine months passes, and Mike is now a budding law student. His friend and card playing partner, Worm (Edward Norton), is let out of prison. Unfortunately, Worm owes a number of very unpleasant people a considerable sum of money. The net result of this is that Mike starts playing cards again, only this time, it isn't just for the money, it's for their lives.

    Rounders is an excellently crafted film. We learn a great deal about the principal characters, and we learn to care about them. This is more than just a story about card sharks. This is a story about being true to yourself. I enjoyed it immensely.

Transfer Quality


    The video transfer of this movie is very good..

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is very clear and very sharp. Shadow detail is good, and there is no low level noise.

    The colours were unusually rendered, often having a very hard edge to them. They varied from undersaturated to almost oversaturated, and there were some very unusual colour palettes on show. Not having seen this movie in the theatre, I can only surmise that this was the cinematographer's intent - it certainly enhances the visual impact of the story. The last movie I recall having a similar "look" to this one was Gattaca.

    There were no MPEG artefacts seen. Aliasing is exhibited mildly from time to time, but this never reaches a level where it is of any significant concern. Film artefacts were rare.

    The running time of this movie is 115:52 minutes, not the 120 minutes as claimed on the packaging.


    There are two audio tracks on this DVD. The default is English Dolby Digital 5.1. There is also an English MPEG 2.0 surround-encoded soundtrack present on this disc. I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times.

    Audio sync was a big problem on my Pioneer DV-505, with the majority of the movie marginally out of sync. In particular, Chapters 6 and 8 were notable for this problem. This problem improves as the movie progresses, but never completely disappears. I compared these spots on a Panasonic 8583B DVD-ROM drive using PowerDVD, and no sync problems were evident.

    The musical score by Christopher Young was frequently present and enhanced the mood of the movie significantly. Tension was built nicely by the score.

    The surround channels had subtle but frequent use for music and for ambience. The overall effect was of a pleasantly enveloping soundtrack which was much more involving than would have been expected given the material being presented.

    The subwoofer was active a reasonable amount of the time, providing a subtle underscoring of the music and some of the effects.


    A limited selection of extras are present. All video extras have MPEG 2.0 audio only and are all presented at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 16x9 enhanced. The Dolby Digital Canyon trailer is on this disc.

What's Missing / What's Extra

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;


    The menu design is nicely themed around the movie. It has PCM audio throughout the menu structure and is 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is of poor quality, with significant MPEG compression artefacts being visible.

Cast & Crew Biographies

    These are detailed and interesting.

Cast & Crew Interviews

    These are at least worth listening to, though otherwise unremarkable.

Featurette - On The Set

    This is an uncommented 4 minute featurette showing behind the scenes footage. It is of limited value.


    Rounders is an excellent movie.

    The video quality is excellent, and unlike the Region 1 version of this disc, this disc is 16x9 enhanced.

    The audio quality is good, but given the significant audio sync problems exhibited on my setup, I would advise you to rent this disc before buying it to make sure that the problems do not affect your setup. Pioneer owners in particular should be wary of purchasing this disc sight unseen.

    There are a few more extras on the Region 4 version of this disc compared with the Region 1 version of this disc, but nothing to get particularly excited about.

     For everyone but Pioneer DVD player owners, I would recommend this disc over the Region 1 version because of its 16x9 enhancement. For the Pioneer owners, rent or borrow the disc first before committing to a purchase as the audio sync problem is not a minor one.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
9th August 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-505, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer