On their way back to the University, Four college buddies stop off in Reno for a night of drinks and gambling. While there, they witness an attempted robbery, which leads to a cop saying robbing the casino "cannot be done". Intent on proving the police wrong, the brain of the group devises a fail-safe plan to commit the robbery, convincing the other men to join him in what he describes as a college hoax, with full intent to return the money after the heist. Brick, a member of the group whose in major debt, suffering from PTSD due to the Korean War, sends things spiraling out of control as he fully intends to rob the casino and not return a dime. Phil Karlson's 5 Against The House is a modestly enjoyable heist film that is elevated by Phil Karlson's direction. The basic plot of 5 Against The House is fun, with each of the four college buddies bringing a unique personality to the film. They each play off each other well and when the heist commences the time the audience spent with them earlier only helps to heighten the tension. The actual heist itself falls under the category of unlikely, but Karlson's acute sense of direction gives everything weight. While the plot of the film centers around a heist, thematically the film is about the struggle of returning soldiers who are unable to seek the help they desperately need. Brick is a likable character who has had trouble finding his place after the war and the way the film unravels is a nice testament to a soldier's treatment after conflict. 5 Against the House is far from upper-echelon when it comes to Karlson's canon but what it says about a soldier's struggle and need of help even after the war rings very true and important to this day.
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