Cast: Matt Damon, Edward Norton,
John Turturro, John Malkovich, Gretchen Mol
Directed by John Dahl
A young law student spends many an evening
playing high-stakes poker because he's one of the best. He meets his
match one day in the form of a Russian gangster and blows his entire
savings on what he felt was a sure thing and retires from the game,
which pleases his girlfriend. When one of his friends is released
from prison, he feels compelled to help him because he owes the
Russian mobster $25,000 and has only a week to get it to him.
Together they proceed to try to win the money they need to pay him
off, but they find things are easier said than done.
Quietly director John Dahl (THE LAST
SEDUCTION, RED ROCK WEST) is putting together a fine career. Credit
Jean-Yves Escoffier (GOOD WILL HUNTING) for the beautiful
cinematography of a film that is mostly indoors; it looks stunning.
Matt Damon is such a natural actor, reminiscenet of the easy but
subtly intense style Denzel Washington is known for, and the rest of
the cast chips in with solid performances throughout. Some may be
put off due to the subject matter (i.e. it's pretty much a string of
poker games with some dramatic interludes), but it's actually quite
fascinating and smart entertainment.