|March 15, 2005
|New Line Home Video
|Gambler. Addict. Loser. Legend.
|High Roller - The Stu Ungar Story
Based on a true story, Stuey Ungar (Michael Imperioli) moves from teenage card prodigy to world-renowned gambling superstar. Early on, Stuey takes a liking to gambling, but his obsessive habits put him in debt to the mob. Vincent (Michael Nouri), a gangster with a family connection, offers a second chance in the form of a Las Vegas rummy competition. Stuey is victorious and moves on to a high-profile poker career, but with success comes a troubling lifestyle of addiction and excess.
Some people have a gift for science. Some, a gift for art. Stu Ungar had a gift. A gift for cards.
Writer, Director, Editor
Director of Photography
"Good performances abound along with some believable dialogue and stylish direction (from writer-director A.W. Vidmer). High Roller is a consistently entertaining biopic." --Ray Richmond, Hollywood Reporter
"You simply don't find writing this tight, this textured, this assured and this entertaining in freshman efforts, but here it is in spades." --Kevin Nance, The Tennessean
"It’s your basic “rise and fall of a legend” tale told very well here with knockout performances (especially from Pat Morita who plays a casino boss), a tight story and professional filmmaking. Stu Ungar spent his life building a legend. A.W. Vidmer and crew do all in their power to keep the legend alive and they succeed." --Eric Campos, Film Threat
"Maestro Vidmer makes an indisputably assured debut. On a tiny (by Hollywood standards) budget, he brings together one of television's hottest supporting players, an impressive supporting cast (including Imperioli's fellow Sopranos vet Steve Schirripa, Michael Nouri and even Mr. Myagi himself, Pat Morita, as a delightfully sleazy gambler), and a convincing period set design. Vidmer's screenplay and directorial flourishes convey a unique style without descending to the gimmickry so often associated with independent filmmakers." --Jonathan Lampley, Nashville Rage
"This is a sad tale of a wasted life, told with flashbacks and time shifts that keep the story moving. From the beginning to the terrific final shot, this film takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions, where you get to experience Stuey's highpoints at cards and at love and suffer along with his friends and family as his self-destructive tendencies tear him apart." --The Movie Chicks
"Vidmer is an artist painting a portrait of a unique individual. In 114 minutes, Vidmer is able to compress Stuey's tumultuous life in a very stirring, graphic depiction of an out-of-control existence. Vidmer's biggest brush stroke was the selection of Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos) to portray Stuey, possibly the biggest challenge of his career. You will not be disappointed with his portrayal; it was authentic in both personality and appearance." -- Brian Kaplin, Card Player
"I think the movie Stuey is a revelation, it's a hell of a movie, it’s a human drama..." -- Tony Macklin, ESPN Radio