‘Poker Face’ Review: Russell Crowe Goes All-In on a Bluff

‘Poker Face’ Review: Russell Crowe Goes All-In on a Bluff

Inside the final scene of Poker Face, you get a reasonably clear picture of what this Russell Crowe movie was aiming for: An inspiring journey that has one factor to say about behavior, father-daughter relationships, and the best way friendships rework over years. It is likely to be touching, if solely what you witnessed all through its runtime dissected any of these themes. In its place, we get a jumbled-up story that tries to be numerous movies on the an identical time—and fails spectacularly in all of them.

The reality that Poker Face is directed, written, and starring Crowe (based mostly totally on a script by Stephen M. Coates) should suggest that the actor-turned-screenwriter-turned-director has administration over most of what ends up on the show. Nonetheless, as a result of the movie progresses, it appears to be like like each the script went through many palms or Crowe has no idea the least bit of what he’s doing. The story services spherical Jake Foley (Crowe), a tech billionaire that decides to assemble his oldest buddies for a high-stakes poker sport by which the winner takes residence tens of hundreds of thousands of {{dollars}}. Nonetheless, the poker sport is interrupted when secrets and techniques and strategies resurface, revenge plots are unfolded, and thieves break into Jake’s house.

Just by attempting on the movie’s synopsis, it’s possible you’ll get a method of what’s fallacious with it. Is it a drama centered on poker video video games? Is it a revenge movie? Or maybe a home invasion thriller? In actual fact, it is likely to be all of that and even be a genre-bending journey, nevertheless the problem is that Crowe does solely the bare minimal to connect the themes that his screenplay proposes. And there are an entire lot of them.

First, with the intention to rearrange the story’s core of friendships, it follows the first characters as youngsters and introduces two components for battle and drama that are on no account revisited: The effectively being of Michael’s (Liam Hemsworth) mother and his concern of heights. The scene moreover fails to determine how poker united them—they merely type of play it. On the an identical time, the movie expects us to buy that they formed such a sturdy connection through the cardboard sport {{that a}} poker night invitation is ample to summon all of them after they clearly drifted apart.

Jake, then once more, barely will get an introduction throughout the flashback. Shortly, he goes through a philosophical journey full of motivational quotes. The story rushes through his emotional state merely to present a plot machine that you could possibly merely inform will operate a deus ex machina in some unspecified time sooner or later. By the purpose the movie really kicks off, you uncover {{that a}} third of it has handed by and however you formed no reference to the characters the least bit.

Nevertheless that’s good, because of who needs character development when you’ve acquired wheels? In thought of one among Poker Face’s most absurd moments, lots of the important solid spends some time having a vehicle chase that portions to (you guessed it) nothing. The scene is just as absurd as what comes subsequent: Completely acutely aware that thought of one among his biggest buddies has a enjoying behavior, Jake invites him to…gamble. They start a poker sport by which he could win or lose 5 million {{dollars}}. And take note, this is usually a story that expects you to contemplate Jake has his buddies’ biggest pursuits in ideas.

It’s moreover pretty irritating that Poker Face offers almost no build-up to its poker sport scene, which is arguably its most crucial half. You notice that each participant clearly wants the prize money, nevertheless you positively obtained’t know what goes on of their specific individual storylines. So, you end up rooting for none of them, and the rushed sport, similar to the rest of the movie, offers no thrills.

The very last item the movie has to provide is the home invasion part, which is as a lot as par with the rest of the film. The film establishes that the house has cameras all over the place—in addition to on the doorway, it seems. In an attempt to tie the story in with the first flashback, an earlier rival is obtainable as a result of the invader, nevertheless all the movie did beforehand to determine him as a villain was…exhibiting him stealing lunch money. As a result of the burglary progresses, it turns into clear that neither criminals nor the screenwriter thought their plan through: They don’t know what they’re after, ignore clear indicators that the plan could go fallacious, and don’t have any plan B and even escape plan. Nevertheless that doesn’t matter, because of Poker Face solely makes use of its villains to assemble some artificial strain and wrap the story up with a twist you probably can see coming miles and miles away.

This brings us once more to the last word scene. Everybody is aware of that voice-over narration makes the whole thing seem further vital, nevertheless Poker Face forgets that, with the intention to create an emotional ending, it is a should to work within the course of it. We see zero scenes of the first solid bonding. As soon as they’ve their defining poker sport, it’s onerous to find out within the occasion that they love or hate each other. Jake’s relationship alongside along with his daughter is superficial at biggest, and based mostly totally on what we see throughout the movie, he’d fairly do something than spend time collectively along with her. And however, the protagonist is broadly often called any individual who’s had an enormous impact on the lives of everyone involved. He perhaps did, as the last word scene wants to point, nevertheless you obtained’t know what impression that was by watching this film.

Poker Face constantly tries to carry the guess and convey new components to the desk, nevertheless you quickly perceive it’s all a bluff. It doesn’t know the precise solution to assemble strain and anticipation and does no effort to work on its characters. It moreover doesn’t know the precise solution to convey an thrilling poker sport, and after stumbling through totally disposable plot components, it tries to wrap its story up with life lessons that are as generic as a result of the movie itself.

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