A seemingly ordinary bank employee develops an obsession that could destroy his life and that of those around him in this drama. Dan Mahowny (Philip Seymour Hoffman) is a quiet, unassuming employee of a bank in Toronto; he lives modestly, drives a used car, and is dating one of the bank's tellers, a sweet but mousy girl named Belinda (Minnie Driver). What no one knows is that Dan has a secret life -- Dan is a compulsive gambler, and after running up massive debts with his bookie Frank Perlin (Maury Chaykin), he begins making regular visits to Atlantic City in the United States, where he often bets (and loses) far beyond his means. Dan's expertise at the bank is rewarded with a promotion to assistant manager; his new responsibilities include approving loans, which gives him the authority to transfer funds in and out of the bank. Needing to cover his debts, Dan starts approving loans to non-existent clients and adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to other accounts, and Victor Fox) (John Hurt), manager of Dan's favorite Atlantic City casino, is more than happy to "help" Dan, comping him to luxury suites and all the attendant amenities and working with him to transfer bank funds into his casino account. As Dan's debts begin to grow into the seven figure range, his dealings become harder to hide, both from the authorities and from Belinda, who has become aware of Dan's addiction to gambling but doesn't know just how far it's grown. Based on a true story, Owning Mahowny was directed by Richard Kwietniowski, who previously worked with John Hurt in the acclaimed Love and Death on Long Island.
by Mark Deming synopsis