Movie Details

After director Alex Cox alienated the powers that be in Hollywood with Straight to Hell and Walker, his anarchic follow-ups to Repo Man and Sid and Nancy, it would be nearly a decade before he made a film in the United States again. After making the critically acclaimed, underseen Highway Patrolman in Mexico, he agreed to direct The Winner, based on the play A Darker Purpose by Wendy Riss. Vincent D'Onofrio stars as Philip, a soft-spoken, rather dimwitted young man who stumbles into an incredible lucky streak in Las Vegas. Every Sunday, he enters the same casino, wins some money, and goes home. While Philip himself is pretty nonchalant about his lucky streak, it earns him the attention of a lot of unsavory characters. Louise (Rebecca De Mornay, who also executive produced the film), a tacky nightclub singer, and her impotent hitman boyfriend, Jack (Billy Bob Thornton), plan to get Philip to fall in love with Louise and offer her a fortune to pay off her debt to the sinister, seemingly omnipotent Kingman (Delroy Lindo), the casino owner who employs Jack. A small-time hood, Joey (Frank Whaley) and his motley crew (Richard Edson and Saverio Guerra) plan to rip Philip off, but their plans are complicated when the antic, impulsively violent Joey begins to feel a strange attraction to his would-be prey. Wolf (Michael Madsen), Philip's thuggish brother (and Louise's former lover) arrives in town, practically guaranteeing some kind of violent showdown. After shooting the film, Cox returned to Mexico to work on his next project. While he was away, the producers then re-edited The Winner without his consent, and replaced the film's soundtrack. Cox has since distanced himself from the final product. ~ Josh Ralske, Rovi