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Is The Movie “Poker Face” a Good Poker Movie?
A lot of poker fans got super excited when there was an announcement last year that Russell Crowe was going to be in a movie titled ‘Poker Face.’
Is this the long answer the poker community has sought since Rounders? Or would this be another poker movie that flops when it comes to poker?
Here’s our review of the movie Poker Face and whether it has lived up to its name for poker references.
Intro to the Poker Face Movie
Jake Foley (Russell Crowe), a tech billionaire and avid gambler, throws a high-stakes poker tournament between old pals, offering them the opportunity to earn more money than they could have ever imagined.
The evening changes when he reveals his complex scheme to exact revenge for their betrayals; to participate, they must surrender the one thing they have spent their entire lives attempting to protect their secrets.
As the game progresses, robbers break in and must work together to make it through a terrifying night. In his second film as a director, Russell Crowe attempts to blend a somber study of regret with the sleekness of a C-movie, but the script's worn-out components never quite gel.
The Tale of The Tape (Spoilers!)
The movie begins with our character, Jake, who is troubled by a cancer diagnosis and now feels compelled to face those who have wronged him. The first 20 minutes of the movie serve no purpose as they are simply there to add in plot devices such as his love for paintings or how he acquires the ‘truth serum,’ but other than that are mostly irrelevant.
Jake's buddies are similarly undeveloped; each hides a secret that will affect him. This reunion of estranged old pals lacks any flame since the supporting cast plays dreary types—the self-absorbed politician, the philanderer, and the wandering drunk.
That's particularly problematic after Jake reveals his sinister hidden purpose for inviting them to his remote estate. The increased stakes meant to arise from that simply don't happen.
The entrance of some armed thieves, commanded by the deadly Victor, who seeks to steal Jake's artwork, adds another layer of difficulty, which Crowe, who also contributed to the writing, added.
If they appear, the movie might take on an unanticipated new dynamic and force these pals to cooperate in this life-or-death situation. However, Crowe only shows a little aptitude for creating dramatic scenes, and the action-packed payoff, in conclusion, falls flat.
Jake's secret illness is revealed, leading to a dramatic conclusion that makes the audience cry. As a director, Crowe needs more assurance to pull off this final tonal shift. Poker Face ended up serving as a lesson in gratitude, which is strange considering that this thriller can't get a handle on any of its many moving parts.
Is There Any Poker in Poker Face?
One of the more alarmingly negative points about this film is its absolute lack of actual poker playing despite its name. The only genuine poker hand in the movie is similarly confusing and gives a very abrupt feeling.
Jake sits with his friends in an affluent home game setting, having bought each player a $5 million freeroll for them.
In the only poker hand of the movie, Jake and his friend battle it out where, for some reason, his friend nit rolls Jake’s shove on the turn with the nuts and the redraw to the flush. A nonsensical hand in a movie that should be embarrassed to have poker in the title.
The overall theme of poker is quickly forgotten as it is only vaguely mentioned near the start for some of Jake's background and is merely used as a plot divide for a couple of minutes until the real ‘thriller’ arrives.
Poker Face Conclusion & Rating
Crowe captures the harrowing vulnerability of this gambler, suggesting a person at a crossroads in their faith. Still, Jake's sudden motivation to call his buddies over for a guy's night poker match comes out as incredibly forced.
Overall the film falls short of being any sort of memorable or film worthwhile to watch. Its significant lack of any promised poker from the title or its meandering plot is crammed full of weird motivators and hints to what eventually leads to nothing besides a stereotypical home invasion thriller.
Neither Russel Crowe nor any other familiar faces can save this sinking film from falling hard as it failed to garner any recognition and is arguably not even worth the 1 hour 30 minutes it takes to get through this Australian-American thriller.
A solid rating to give this film would be a 4/10, as the cinematography and production design of this film is the only worthwhile element.