A fine, stark, totally uncompromised drama.
—Matt Zoller Seitz, Slant Magazine

...the downbeat ensemble drama impresses with its gritty realism, low-key dramatic focus and honed performances. ...Mercifully, script refrains from spelling out the pathos already quite evident in the setting and the characters' faces. A few terse back stories emerge but, more often, dialogue is credibly focused on strained pleasantries, leaving tragedy easy to read. Performers, all retained from the original stage production, are uniformly excellent. Their absorbing turns and discreet direction keep the bleak tale from growing too uneventful or monotonous.
—Dennis Harvey, Variety

Losing Ground makes its greatest connection in knowing us just as much as we know these characters. It is fascinating filmmaking that gets to the core of humanity, scrapes out even the most bottommost parts of it, and holds it up to examine it.
—Rory L. Aronsky, FILM THREAT

...a stunning array of drama and performances worthy of Eugene O'Neill. -With sobering patience and insight, Wizemann's story examines the lives of characters rendered complex and all too human.
—Fernando F. Croce, Cinequest

–An arresting independent film about the human propensity for addiction. Losing Ground isn't a melodramatic anti-gambling screed. The film viscerally evokes the atmosphere of a circle of hell populated by people desperately willing themselves into blindness.
—M. Faust, ArtVoice

Numerous narrative strands mysteriously and gracefully intertwine, trapping these compulsive, desperate characters in their tangled web. Losing Ground, with its muted but potently charged minimalism, has much to convey about the ways in which the economic and emotional uncertainties of a greed culture steeped in narcissistic myth and fantasy, cripple people's lives emotionally.
—Prairie Miller, WBAI Arts Magazine

Losing Ground, like its characters, is in no hurry to artificially define where its headed. –There’s not a bad performance in the lot, each fulfilling a sadness and a greater sense of danger that comes with satisfying their craving. Cinematographer Mark Schwartzbard confines the shadows like a trap to which these people and the audience have no escape.
—Erik Childress,

You think you already know its handful of losers in a place where time and life itself seems to have stopped. And maybe you do. But they get to you anyway in their unitalicized, cumulative way. Both mood piece and ensemble piece, the film is a sad exhalation of life -- or what passes for it -- among the rudderless…in measured, note-perfect performances.
—Jay Carr, AM New York

…dialogue with a realistic sense of desperation…his characters seem trapped under microscope slides on the screen. What makes Losing Ground compelling is how Wizemann subtly transcends the clichés of the addiction film. It leads us down a familiar path, but its power is in the journey, not the destination. It is well worth seeing if given the chance.
—Odie Henderson, Cinemaniac's Corner

Losing Ground

Adapted from the critically acclaimed New York stage play, Losing Ground unfolds in real-time over a single night in a Las Vegas video-poker bar where seven people come in, interact, strike up friendships of convenience, win, lose, and go home.

Bryan Wizemann's haunting and elegiac feature film debut is a contemporary portrait of ritual and superstition, intimacy and estrangement. In direct contrast with the current zeitgeist of a Las Vegas myth, Losing Ground is a personal and closely observed work on the addictions of human nature. You can watch the film's trailer above.

Principal Crew

Written & Directed by
Bryan Wizemann
Director of Photography
Mark Schwartzbard
Brad Studstrup
Julian Coutts
Production Designer
Gaylia Wagner
First Camera Operator
George Lyon
Guest Camera Operator
John Schwartz


Eileen O'Connell
Kendall Pigg
Matthew Mark Meyer
Monique Vukovic
Rhonda Keyser
John Good
Colm Byrne


Press Kit (pdf)

Film Stills (.zip)


eFilmCritic Interview

Review Journal Feature

Watch the Film


Purchase The DVD