The New Zealander stars in, co-writes and directs a new thriller revolving around a frenetic poker showdown. It is scheduled for release in Spain in January 2023, and will share the bill alongside Liam Hemsworth, Jacqueline McKenzie, Elsa Pataky and Lynn Gilmartin.
The plot of Poker Face stars Jake Foley (Russell Crowe), who invites his friends to join a poker game that will make them win a lot of money in just one night. However, the possibility of playing is conditioned to the fact that each player will reveal some of his darkest secrets as the night goes by and the game progresses, which will put the participants on the ropes and force them to bet much more than money, even risking their own lives.
From the synopsis alone, it is clear that the film avoids any documented aspect of recent poker history in order to provide a suspenseful thriller story of the kind that is so popular in the West. Although the fact that it is a fiction and suspense story does not mean that there are not going to be realistic plays throughout the film.
The seventh art has many poker fans. Great films have been made with poker as a backdrop and it has even become a determining factor in the plot, so it is most likely that not only the human component will be used to move the story forward, but presumably poker will be used to force the players to reveal their past to the viewer.
What this can achieve is to hook the moviegoer with little or no poker experience into a story where the game carries a lot of weight, but without making it difficult to follow. By associating certain plays with critical plot points, it manages to create an associative linkage that may prove useful, although we'll have to wait until the premiere to see how they've played with the emotions and danger of the hands, and how they've driven the story.
What is clear is that poker promises to have a lot of weight in the plot, especially with Crowe behind the cameras and participating in the script itself.
Poker Face will be the second film to be directed by the actor known for films such as Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind. His first stint behind the camera with The Water Diviner won him several awards from the Australian Academy of Film and Television.
Poker Face is based on a script co-written with Stephen M. Coates, and since Crowe is the main character, the involvement of the New Zealander is maximum, so we can expect a good film that serves as entertainment while reflecting interesting aspects of a poker game, relying on a powerful and clear audiovisual language that simplifies some somewhat complex poker concepts for an audience that is not necessarily accustomed to playing poker.
It can be somewhat complicated to keep the rhythm of the story if every now and then it is necessary to intersperse some parenthesis that serves to make the audience understand a specific aspect of poker. Belonging to the thriller genre, Poker Face does not seem to fall into that error, although it is assumed that poker will have a lot of weight in the narrative and that interesting mechanics will be introduced that poker fans will recognize when they see them on screen.
With Crowe's talent and his involvement in different areas of the film, it is to be expected that Poker Face will succeed where other films have failed, such as Casino Royale, which completely ignored the inexperienced poker viewer and prevented him from understanding what the situation at the table was at any given moment when the action was taking place in the casino.
All in all, it should not be forgotten that Poker Face aims to entertain and maintain a lively story with enough attractions to also satisfy the viewer who is not familiar with the world of poker.
In addition, the fact that other familiar faces such as Liam Hemsworth, Elsa Pataky or RZA share the screen with Crowe himself already gives clues about the film's target audience. The question is to what extent a poker fan will find the way the game is introduced in the story stimulating.
We will only have to wait a few more weeks until the film arrives in Spanish theaters at the beginning of the year through Vertigo 360, the distributor in charge of bringing Russell Crowe's new film to theaters across the country.
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