Poker Face is a 2022 movie written and directed by Russell Crowe. A part Australian, part US production, it also stars fellow Australian actor Liam Hemsworth and rapper RZA.
His second attempt at directing, Crowe made his directorial debut in 2014 with the movie The Water Diviner. Poker Face is a more ambitious endeavor and tells the story of tech billionaire Jack Foley. Crowe stars in the lead role himself and is backed by a wide ensemble of top-class talent to play the friends and family.
Foley likes to host high-stakes poker games for his friends and family, purely for thrills. One such session is at the center of the plot when Foley begins to expose long-held dark secrets of his friends. To add to this, the game soon becomes the target of a robbery. The plot of Poker Face can often be ambling and confusing. One example is the section where a woman meets the main character in an art gallery, then vanishes from the movie never to be seen until the finale. In many ways, it seems like huge, critical scenes have been deleted at the editing stage which messes with the narrative.
Poker now has a huge following, with growth mainly down to its televised outings in the nineties and then its boom in the online era. This created a platform for online casinos to expand from with great success as the industry is prominent in numerous countries. The wealth of competition means it can be hard for consumers to choose the best option, which is why BonusFinder wrote a post about the best online casinos in Canada and has done so with ones in the US and further afield. They cover the welcome bonuses, as well as other key features such as customer service and the games available. Therefore, taking on a topic of this caliber is not something that should be taken lightly. While it seems that Crowe does allude to its importance, the confusing plot does not do this pastime justice.
There are, however, some positives to the movie as well. Crowe himself shines throughout the movie and pulls it through what is a fairly lackluster plot. It is evident that this is a passion project as he provides every ounce of his acting ability and gruff persona to Jack Foley.
Another point is that the movie looks great. The cinematography and art direction are spectacular, so the movie’s sets and shots look fantastic. However, as it is mainly set in small rooms and casinos, these are often surplus to requirements and far beyond the scope of what the movie needs. And this may be where the real problems arise. Poker Face does not know what it wants to be.
Has He Drawn a Bad Hand?
As the thrill-seeking poker-playing tech billionaire, the main character is already an unlikeable choice and despite Crowe’s best efforts, he never seems to get more likable as the movie continues. A tale of a poker player picking apart his friends’ darkest secrets would be a great enough premise for a movie on its own, but the addition of a robbery seems like unrequired chaos.
With Crowe’s previous movie and directorial debut, he managed to create a much more watchable film. The Water Diviner is a film about a father who traveled to Turkey after World War One to find his son’s grave. The premise is extremely compelling and though it followed a very simple journeyman plot, the movie had a complete and satisfying narrative. This is not present in Poker Face.
All in all, Crowe has attempted something and not quite pulled it off. It will not be considered among his best or worst works, but Poker Face does show that he is willing to try new things, even if they might not quite work out.