Poker Night: A Genre Twisting New Film for 2015
While critics have roundly condemned the upcoming remake of the 1974 Hollywood hit The Gambler, there is no doubt that gambling films have forged a unique and prominent niche in contemporary popular culture. From the original film itself to success stories such as Rounders, gambling has emerged as a fascinating narrative that translates well on the silver screen. Now that online gambling is becoming increasingly popular, this is a trend that is likely to continue into the future.
With this in mind, gamblers could be forgiven for awaiting the release of ‘Poker Night’ with bated breath. Despite the title, however, the film is not necessarily as it seems and the quality of the plot certainly elevates the title above the typical gambling movie. While the sport may be central to the theme and the suspenseful nature of Greg Francis’ narrative may replicate the type of cat and mouse interaction that symbolises most poker exchanges, the film is driven by gritty, crime drama dialogue and classic horror elements rather than nail-biting gambling moments.
The film also has the swagger of a successful poker player, and it has clearly been produced with the type of confident attitude that reflects a team at the top of their game. This is also reflected in the decision of the director to merge two movie genres within a single piece of cinematography, as the neighbouring but often diametrically opposed worlds of the criminal thriller and the slasher film collide with spectacular results. Starring Beau Mirchoff as a rookie police officer who is kidnapped by a masked maniac after a poker game with local law enforcement leaders, the film is told partially through flashbacks and changes pace without ever confusing the viewer.
While some gambling fans may be disappointed with the lack of poker game play and interaction, those who can read between the lines will appreciate how fundamental elements of gambling are woven into the innovative plot. From the unpredictability of human behaviour to the decisions and chances that people take as individuals, this film offers a subtle take on gambling and the nature of risk. So although it may not rely heavily on poker play or a narrative that is gambling focused, it does offer an admiring nod to the prominence of gaming in modern popular culture.
Poker gaming has become one of the most popular forms online now as well as in traditional bricks and mortar establishments, the likes of 888 in particular bringing it firmly to the online customers.