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Film Reviews An unexpected guest visits an underworld poker game and leaves a better man. Film News And Views - Film Reviews - An unexpected guest visits an underworld poker game and leaves a better man. Film Reviews,,An unexpected guest visits an underworld poker game and leaves a better man.,recommendation,shopping,advice,simple,movies,films,film news and views,news and views,film industy,movie reviews,film news,film,news,views,television,made for tv movies,interactive entertainment,hollywood,hollywood news,celebrity news,insiders perspective,film reviewer,watch film,film trailer,new releases,new release,new release movie,new release film,movie reviewer,opinion,viewpoint,forum,discussion
An unexpected guest visits an underworld poker game and leaves a better man.

by Erik Sean McGiven on Aug 05, 2010

An unexpected guest drops in on an underworld poker game and leaves a better man.

This dark neo-noir comedy begins with an ear shattering sound of a passing freight train; its lights flashing through the windows.  It's a solid beginning to a most likable film about faith and the game of poker.  Three card sharpies receive word that the Son of God is in town and has been taking down the best.  When Jesus arrives in a portrait-like entrance we expect parables and miracles.  Instead we get a cynical, dejected mortal who has lost faith in humanity. 

He sits down and plays beating the hell out of everyone at the table.  He lays down one straight flush after another resulting in two of the players having to tap out.  Then it's only Jesus and The Man, the best card player this side of the Mason-Dixon Line.  The stakes double then raise rapidly.  The tension mounts, as the Son of God must decide whether  to bet more or fold.  Could The Man be bluffing?  Maybe, maybe not.  After a prolonged pause Jesus finally decides to fold.  Game over; The Man wins.  But the loser leaves with his faith in humanity restored a much richer reward.  Indeed, we later find out The Man was bluffing and he emphatically rebukes, "When the man sat down, He agrees to play the game." 

There are no gimmes in poker, no do-overs.  It's a game where names and titles mean little and where random selection, luck, and skill rein over the golden rule; much like life.  There are many interpretations as to what this film is about and screenings should generate lively discussions as to its message, the lessons, and the present state of our religious beliefs.  

I especially like the use of religious slip-ups like the faux pas when Darlin' Lil, seductively played by Claudia Christian, shouts out "God Damn it!" after being dealt a bad hand.  She directs an apologetic "Sorry" to Jesus Christ.  Claudia is best known for her roles in "Atlantis, the Lost Empire" and "Babylon 5: Thirdspace."  Buddy Daniels Friedman plays Eyeball O'Reilly, the one-eyed gambler whom can't seem to get a good hand.  Here he admirably plays a chronic loser and has been seen in such movies as "Road to Red," and "Ninja Cheerleaders."  Alex Veadov ("We Own the Night" and "Air Force One") plays the Son of God with the panache of a man doubting his own faith.  It's a skillful depiction balancing biblical imagery against that of a troubled soul seeking answers.  Steve Eastin ("Catch Me If You Can" and "Up in the Air") portrays the highly skilled card mechanic known only as The Man.  He's a tough hombre chewing on his cigar and totally into the game.  He has no tell, no clues as to what cards he's holding, and yet his mind is always calculating how he can win.  A caricature of the Old West, it's a most engaging portrayal.

Clifton Morris rounds out the cast as the lackey and Martin Beck plays the dozing old man off to the side.  Production efforts are first rate in this back and white tribute to the film noir.  The dingy smoke-filled back room plays into the seedy aspects of the game and the stark light/dark lighting cleverly reveals the changing demeanor of the players.  Close-ups dominate the contest and visually pull us into the game, a game played with cards, chips, and shifting devious eyes.  Jesus came to town and he won.  Or did he?

CREDITS: Stars: Steve Eastin, Alex Veadov, Claudia Christian, Buddy Daniels Friedman, Clifton Morris, and Martin Beck.  UPM/Line Producer: Michael Silberman, Cinematographer: Roger Chingirian, Production Designer: Lia Roldan, Costume Designer: Chase Jezowski, Sound Design: Kevin Rittner ,Written by: James Aloysius von Seitz, Producer/Director/Editor: Kamal John Iskander, Produced by Holy Ship Productions, Time: 12 minutes 31 second.

 

 

  May 22, 2017

Film Reviews,,An unexpected guest visits an underworld poker game and leaves a better man.,recommendation,shopping,advice,simple,movies,films,film news and views,news and views,film industy,movie reviews,film news,film,news,views,television,made for tv movies,interactive entertainment,hollywood,hollywood news,celebrity news,insiders perspective,film reviewer,watch film,film trailer,new releases,new release,new release movie,new release film,movie reviewer,opinion,viewpoint,forum,discussion